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Blind hockey brings Philadelphia community together

By Edward Wolf, 03/09/23, 1:45PM EST


PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - Philadelphia Blind Hockey has been making waves in the local community, bringing together visually impaired players of all ages to enjoy hockey. Founded by Kelsey McGuire, the team has gained momentum, thanks to the efforts of local high school players stepping onto the ice and helping new players develop their skills.

The program has grown from a spot for players to get on the ice and have fun, into a community effort that has fostered a sense of giving back and belonging. Parents and families come together around the rink to cheer on their players and socialize with others. Children are building lifelong friendships and learning important life skills like teamwork and sportsmanship.

Jim Britt, an experienced leader in Philadelphia youth sports and sports-based youth development, described the efforts of Philadelphia Blind Hockey as “pure love, pure service, pure fun - opportunities provided to children to enable fuller life experiences.”

Philadelphia Blind Hockey’s story began in 2019 when students from the Overbrook School for the Blind partnered with the Philadelphia Flyers to try hockey for the very first time. The program is open to players of all ages with visual impairments, and limited equipment is available for use. Participants must register online and wear full equipment while on the ice. The organization believes in the value of hockey programs for developing character and life skills, as well as promoting physical activity and youth participation across multiple sports.

The organization has also become a source of pride for Philadelphia and the Atlantic Affiliate of USA Hockey. As the team continues to grow, so does its impact on the community. It serves as a reminder of the power of sports to bring people together and create a sense of belonging.

Philadelphia Blind Hockey has earned national recognition following its quick growth. What started as one person looking for some ice to get a few students out on for the first time has become a recurring effort to grow an emerging discipline of disabled hockey. There are two remaining sessions this season on March 5 and 19 at the Laura Sims Skate House in West Philadelphia.