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WATCH: The Perfect Vision | Blind Ice Hockey In Connecticut

A Perfect Vision Mixed + Graded.00_03_54_03.Still019.jpg
Dave Wurtzel
/
Connecticut Public
Keith Haley and Sietska Morgan get ready to play at Newington Ice Arena.

Keith Haley and Sietska Morgan are both legally blind. Yet they don’t let that stand in the way of doing what they love — like playing ice hockey.

“Most people are like, ‘How is that possible? How can blind people play hockey?’” – Sietska Morgan

Their shared passion of playing blind ice hockey on the Hartford Braillers brought them together. They soon discovered other shared interests — cooking, craft beer and a general sense of adventure.

There are a few modifications that come with blind ice hockey. One is that the puck is larger than standard and is made of metal. It also contains ball bearings, which create a sound that mimics that of a cowbell as the puck moves across the ice. This helps players track it audibly. Other modifications include shorter nets, a clean-pass whistle (for goalies to expect a shot attempt) and yellow jerseys instead of white.

“Being that my vision disability is glaucoma, I have no peripheral vision. I don’t see left, right, up or down. And Sietska doesn’t see straight ahead with her Stargardt’s disease. So she can see peripheral. When you look at our vision disabilities and put them together, I like to say … we have the perfect vision.” – Keith Haley

Keith says the sport of blind ice hockey has grown significantly in the past five years, but the players' goal is to make it a Paralympic sport. However, the criteria have been challenging for them to meet. Eight countries are required as well as seven years of advanced notice prior to the next Paralympic Games.

“As far as I’ve seen in my life, it’s more than just a sport. It really brings people together, and it’s like a whole other family.” – Sietska Morgan

Video by Dave Wurtzel and Mark Mirko

Dave Wurtzel is a 9 time Emmy Award winning Visuals Journalist. Crafting documentaries large and small - his work is built on a creative spirit that continues to inspire an original approach to each project. Beyond Connecticut Public Dave has a diverse background and is a proud father, husband, and alumni of Eastern Connecticut State University.
Mark Mirko is Deputy Director of Visuals at Connecticut Public and his photography has been a fixture of Connecticut’s photojournalism landscape for the past two decades. Mark led the photography department at Prognosis, an English language newspaper in Prague, Czech Republic, and was a staff-photographer at two internationally-awarded newspaper photography departments, The Palm Beach Post and The Hartford Courant. Mark holds a Masters degree in Visual Communication from Ohio University, where he served as a Knight Fellow, and he has taught at Trinity College and Southern Connecticut State University. A California native, Mark now resides in Connecticut’s quiet-corner with his family, three dogs and a not-so-quiet flock of chickens. His email address is mmirko@ctpublic.org.

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