In Canada, hockey for everyone

• A local, slice-of-life story from a Monitor correspondent.

A hockey player who has been diagnosed as legally blind is rollerblading from Halifax, Nova Scotia, to Toronto to raise money to teach blind Canadians how to play hockey. Mark DeMontis, who has limited vision, is in-line skating through Canada with two friends who take turns being his guide. He is raising funds through an organization he started called Courage Canada, and is expected to arrive in Toronto on Oct. 15 – two months after setting off from Halifax.

Mr. DeMontis says he was inspired by Chris Delaney, a blind Canadian who rode a tandem bike across Canada to raise funds for research.

Blind hockey is a sport that so far exists only in Canada. It involves a puck that is much larger, slower, and noisier than a normal puck – which makes it easier to spot for visually impaired players, according to François Beauregard, a captain of a Montreal-based blind hockey team called Les Hiboux de Montreal, or The Montreal Owls. Canada started having national blind hockey tournaments two years ago, but organizers would like to turn it into an international sport. They’ve received e-mails and phone calls from the United States and Sweden expressing interest.

In addition to hockey, there are also bicycling, snow-shoeing, and cross-country skiing events for blind people in Canada.

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