USA Hockey Magazine

March 2020

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8 // MARCH 2020 USAHOCKEYMAGAZINE.COM "It's a marathon, not a sprint, and we've been working pretty hard on this for the past two years," Caputo said. "To see that we're mak- ing a difference makes it all worth it. Just knowing that we're getting people off their couch, people that would normally sit at home and not be that active, either socially or physically." For Caputo, it's about getting the word out that there are programs like this for the visually impaired. His reward is watching more players go from barely standing on skates to traveling across the country for tournaments and building lasting friend- ships with people who have overcome simi- lar challenges. "Hockey is for everyone, really," Caputo said. "From the outside, it may appear that we are building a hockey team when in reality, we are actually building friendships, opening up doors and creating opportuni- ties for our players." P O F F T HE D R AW k THE AVERAGE HOCKEY FAN may not realize it, but blind hockey is the same exhilarating, fast-paced sport with one main difference —the players are legally blind. Ted Caputo had been involved in activ- ities for the visually impaired long before his two sons were invited to try blind hockey with the N.Y. Islanders. It took that one event for the family get hooked on hockey. But that was only the beginning of Caputo's efforts to expand the program around the Empire State. Despite his lack of hockey knowledge, Caputo took charge of starting New York Metro Blind Hockey. "I'm thinking 'I can't coach, I can't skate, I don't really know much about hockey,'" Caputo recalled. "I started researching and surrounding myself with people that could help." The NYMBH's numbers have grown significantly in just two years. Not only has the roster expanded with new play- ers, but the program has a healthy sup- port system of volunteers and sponsors. N.Y. Native Helps Bring Blind Hockey To The Big Apple DISABLED k Ted Caputo's involvement in the New York Metro Blind Hockey program has given hundreds of kids a chance to discover the thrill of the game. NHL 3 It promises to be a buenas noches (good night for you non-Spanish speaking people) when the Dallas Stars honor the local Hispanic community during a March 24 game against the Los Angeles Kings. The game is part of the Stars' efforts to reach out to the local Hispanic community, which makes up almost 37 percent of the population in Dallas, while also looking to grow the game south of the border. "As part of this effort, we look forward to celebrating the culture and contributions of the Mexican- American community with Noche Mexicana," said Dallas Stars President Brad Alberts. "Noche Mexicana and our efforts with youth hockey devel- opment in Mexico are the first steps of our process to better engage with Mexican-Americans in Dallas/Fort Worth and the country of Mexico abroad." The evening will include performances by local mariachi and traditional Mexican dance groups, and the first 5,000 fans will receive Lucha Libre masks as well as a poster from local artist Mariell Guzman. Stars players will wear jer- seys featuring the colors of the Mexican flag, which will be auctioned after the game with proceeds going to Mi Escuelita Preschool, a non-profit organi- zation that provides early child- hood education in an English immersion environment. As part of the festivities, play- ers from the Dallas Stars Youth Hockey League will face inter- national teams in the Golden Mask International Youth Hockey Tournament in Metopec, Mexico. The Stars Come Out On Noche Mexicana By Alyssa Hertel k For more information, visit NYMBH.org or usahockey.com/ blindhockey.

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