The powerhouse Canadian National Blind Hockey Team completed the three-peat last weekend by sweeping their American rivals to win the third ever International Blind Ice Hockey Series. Canada defeated Team USA by scores of 7 – 1, 5 – 1, and 7 – 1 in Fort Wayne, Indiana to claim their third consecutive title having previously won both the 2018 series in Pittsburgh and 2019 series in Ottawa.
Canada faced adversity early on as team captain Kelly Serbu and linemate Mark DeMontis were both lost to injuries early in the first game, however assistant captains Jason Yuha and Simon Richard stepped up in their absence to lead the team to victory. Yuha won the tournament scoring title by posting 6 goals and 6 assists for 12 points in only three games, while Richard was second in scoring with 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points while mostly playing defence.
It was a total team effort for Canada with nine of the eleven available skaters contributing at least one point in the series, which was highlighted in game two when Canada had five different goal scorers in the decisive 5 – 1 victory to clinch the series. All three goaltenders played a game each while Canada surrendered only one goal in each game.
Newcomer Chaz Misuraca was a dynamic presence at both ends of the ice and led rookie scoring with three goals, while Alex Angus MacEachen made his presence known in his return from the long-term injury reserve with a highlight-reel goal and two assists.
“I’m so proud of this group,” said coach and GM Luca DeMontis. “We had major roster turn over from the last team with five rookies making their debuts, and we lost two big players right away. This group really showed resilience and mental toughness and demonstrated the next player up mentality as they stuck to the plan and really executed a dominant performance.”
Team Canada featured eleven returning players who were part of the previous championship teams, as well as five rookies making their Team Canada debut. The team is made up of players from across Canada representing five provinces including Alberta, BC, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, and Quebec.
The Para sport of Blind Hockey is played by athletes who are blind or partially sighted who have approximately 10% vision or less. The sport uses an adapted puck that makes noise and is larger than a traditional puck. Currently only Canada and the USA have national teams, however there are now Blind Ice Hockey programs in England, Finland, Sweden, and Russia. The web broadcast of the event drew nearly seven thousand viewers from ten different countries as the Para sport continues to grow around the world.
Next up for Canadian Blind Hockey is the 2022 Western Regional Blind Hockey Tournament at the Winsport Arena in Calgary taking place November 20 – 22. The event will include players from the Vancouver Eclipse, Edmonton SeeHawks, Central Alberta Bullseye, and host Calgary Seeing Ice Dogs Blind Hockey teams, as well as others from across Canada, the USA, and around the world.
2022 – 2023 CANADIAN NATIONAL BLIND HOCKEY TEAM ROSTER
Joey Cabral, Toronto, ON; Oliver Pye, Halifax, NS; Lorne Webber; Edmonton, AB.
Francois Beauregard, Montreal, QC; Dustin Butterfield, Red Deer, AB; Mark DeMontis, Toronto, ON; Joe Fornasier, Burlington, ON; Bruno Haché, Montreal, QC; Wyatt Harvey, Peterborough, ON; Amanda Provan, Sudbury, ON.
Julien Blais, Montreal, QC; Sean Heaslip, Vancouver, BC; Alex Angus MacEachen, Mabou, NS; Chaz Misuraca, Stratford, ON; Simon Richard, Dieppe, NB; Kelly Serbu, Cole Harbour, NS; Jason Yuha, Rosalind, AB.
General Manager & Coach: Luca DeMontis, Toronto, ON
Coaches: Joey Ali, Surrey, BC; Paul Kerins, Weston, ON; Joe McCallion, Toronto, ON; Jeff Street, Toronto, ON.
For more information please visit: www.canadianblindhockey.com