ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – The message is that “hockey is for everyone” and a St. Louis organization is helping to make that happen with its “Try Blind Hockey” event coming to Kirkwood next week.

On Tuesday, July 18, Kirkwood Ice Rink is hosting an event for the blind and visually impaired who want to learn to ice skate and play hockey. A partnership between a non-profit St. Louis Recreation Development Group and the Blinded Veterans Association in Washington D.C. has brought the event to St. Louis.

Those interested just need to register online here. And no need to worry about skates and hockey equipment because it is being provided by the Kirkwood rink and Blind Veterans Association.

Jeff Vann, vice president of St. Louis Recreation Development Group, says a young man who is visually impaired recently expressed his interest in playing hockey. So, Vann reached out the the Blind Veterans Association and Elite Hockey, who have set up events in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Fort Bragg, North Carolina to teach people how to skate and play Blind Hockey.

They now have a full hockey team, and will be brining some of those players to participate in a full game at Tuesday’s event.

Skaters should arrive at Kirkwood Ice Rink between 5:30 and 6:00 p.m., to learn about the game and to be fitted for equipment. Then they learn from local youth coaches and top-level youth players how to skate, stick handle, shoot and pass. The evening of hockey will be capped off by a exhibition game, then a pizza party at 8:15 p.m.

St. Louis Recreation Development Group is a non-profit dedicated to helping the mentally and physically disabled in St. Louis.

“Ultimately what we are all about is helping this community,” Vann says. “This event is our first opportunity at World’s Fair Park to reach out and help the community that we are trying to serve.”

The immediate goal from next week’s event will be to organize a blind hockey club team in St. Louis. But the group also has a larger goal – to create an amusement park designed for the mentally and physically disabled, called World’s Fair Park St. Louis.

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