Blind Hockey is the same exhilarating, fast-paced sport as Ice Hockey with only one main difference – all of the players are legally blind. Players must be classified as eligible in one of the three International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) classifications.
The most significant modification is that the sport features an adapted puck that makes noise, and is both bigger and slower than a traditional puck. Players’ levels of vision range from legally blind – approximately 10% vision or less – to totally blind, with the lowest vision athletes playing defence or goal. Blind Hockey is an excellent spectator sport as it is easily recognizable to the average hockey fan, with minimal rule adaptations to help with gameplay and player safety.
- Custom 3 foot high nets are used rather than the traditional 4 foot nets to keep the puck low and near the ice so it can make noise and be tracked aurally.
- Teams must complete one pass prior to being able to score in the attacking half of the rink – this provides both the low vision defence and the goalie an extra opportunity to track the puck.
- The game is played with standard IIHF safety protocols including no-touch icing, and crease violations to ensure utmost player safety.
- All players must wear full protective gear including face mask.