WATCH: The Perfect Vision | Blind Ice Hockey In Connecticut
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