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Free 'Try Blind Hockey' Event to be Held in Grand Rapids on January 26

November 19, 2019 - American Hockey League (AHL) - Grand Rapids Griffins News Release

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - The Griffins Youth Foundation, in conjunction with the Grand Rapids Griffins and Tim Kane, captain of the U.S. Blind Hockey Team, will host a free "Try Blind Hockey" event on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 from 1-3 p.m. at the east rink of Griff's IceHouse at Belknap Park (30 Coldbrook NE, Grand Rapids).

Visually impaired persons of all ages from across Michigan and beyond are invited to try blind hockey at no cost during this inaugural event. All equipment will be provided, and on-ice guides - including Griffins coaches and former players - will be present to assist participants, who will learn skating, puck-handling, passing and shooting. Participants are asked to arrive at noon that day for equipment fittings.

Online registration by Dec. 16, 2019 is encouraged, although registrations will be accepted until the event is full. Visit to register and access additional information.

Blind hockey is the same exhilarating, fast-paced sport as ice hockey with only one main difference - all of the players are legally blind. The sport features an adapted puck that makes noise and is both bigger and slower than a traditional puck.

"Blind hockey is a very young sport in the U.S. with lots of room to grow," said Kane, an athletic trainer from Grandville, Mich., who is legally blind due to a juvenile degenerative condition. "It's exciting that organizations like the Griffins and their foundation are creating these opportunities for people with impairments, and it's especially exciting for people like myself who enjoyed the game when they were younger and then seemingly lost the ability to play.

"Imagine a kid playing a sport that he or she never thought would be possible," Kane added. "It's a lot of fun to see people get out on the ice for the first time. We want people to see that hockey really is for everyone."

"Our organization was founded to provide hockey opportunities to kids who face barriers to participation," said Kirk Morgan, executive director of the Griffins Youth Foundation. "Inspired by a blind player already in our program, 10-year-old Tryson Smallegan, we enthusiastically agreed to partner with Tim on this event when he approached us. We hope it will open new doors to play this great sport for those of all ages."

Anyone with questions is encouraged to call Morgan at (616) 915-2449.

About the Griffins Youth Foundation Established in 1995, the Griffins Youth Foundation promotes academic excellence, community involvement and healthy lifestyles among the youth of West Michigan, enhancing their lives through hockey and ice-related sports. The foundation provides programming at no cost to 420 kids, with co-ed hockey for first through 12th graders, a girls-only division, a learn-to-skate program, and the Grand Rapids Sled Wings sled hockey team for children and teens with physical disabilities. For more information about the foundation, please visit

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