Blind hockey player brings game to Collingwood
When Randy Banks lost his sight, he thought he would never get to play the sport he loved again. But not only did he get the chance to play hockey again, he wants to introduce blind hockey to the people of his hometown of Collingwood.
He is hosting a fundraiser/showcase game of blind hockey on April 13th at the Eddie Bush Arena.
"I play on the Toronto Ice Owls blind hockey team, which is the only blind hockey team in Ontario, but I live in Collingwood so we decided to bring the team up here to show Simcoe County what blind hockey is all about," Randy explained to KICX 106 morning show team Jason and Carey in an on air interview in March.
Randy Banks (above,centre) pictured with his son and son's girlfriend, re-discovered hockey after he was diagnosed with choroideremia, a rare retinal degeneration that left him with less than 10 per cent peripheral vision.
You might be wondering how the blind can play hockey. The rules are similar to regular hockey - with a few exceptions - with the main difference being the puck. It is larger than a regulation sized puck, and is a hollow plastic wheel filled with nuts and bolts and hardware that rattles and hisses as it travels across the ice. Oh, and while the players can be partially sighted, the goalies must be completely blind according to the rules.
The community is invited to experience it for themselves firsthand. The event begins at 2pm with a family skate for local residents, children or adults, who are blind or partially sighted, with the Toronto Ice Owls putting on a demonstration game starting at 3pm.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will be shared by Collingwood and area charities, and the Toronto Ice Owls Blind Hockey Club.
You can find more information about the club at their website - Toronto Ice Owls Blind Hockey Club
These pictures were taken at the Canadian National Blind Ice Hockey Tournament March 22-25 at the Old Maple Leaf Gardens, featuring some of the Toronto Ice Owls, and some former NHL players that you might just recognize.