Canadian Blind Hockey Association launches new Select Division to showcase sport with plans to grow international competition, work towards ultimate goal of World Championship & Paralympic Games
TORONTO, March 9, 2016 /CNW/ - After four years of aggressively growing the parasport of Blind Hockey across North America, the newly re-branded Canadian Blind Hockey Association is taking the next step toward its Paralympic dream, with the launch of the new Select Division at this weekend's 2016 Canadian Blind Hockey Tournament presented by AMI – Accessible Media Inc., and brought to you by CNIB – Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
The event takes place at Ryerson University's Mattamy Athletic Center at the Gardens (formerly Maple Leaf Gardens) in Toronto, Ontario, from Friday, March 11 through Sunday, March 13. All events are 100% free and open to the public to attend in person, or watch online via high quality web stream with play-by-play from SiriusXM NHL Network's Rob Simpson.
The Select Division implements the International Blind Sports Federation's (IBSA) classification system, and introduces a new point system for the sport of Blind Hockey for the first time. These two developments are major leaps forward that will allow this great Canadian invented recreational game to mature into a competitive international parasport, with goals of establishing a World Championship and inclusion in the Paralympic Games.
"All competitive parasports must have a classification system to ensure that the competition is fair and equal, and that the outcome is determined by skill and performance, rather than degree of impairment," says Canadian Blind Hockey Association Executive Director Matt Morrow. "In a team sport like Blind Hockey, implementing a point system is crucial as it allows teams that are made up of athletes with different degrees of visual impairment to compete against each other in best-on-best competitions, with the overall level of vision on the team being equalized."
In the IBSA classification system, an athlete who is blind or partially sighted is classed as either a B1 – no vision, a B2 – approximately 5% functional vision or less, or a B3 – 10% or less. Each team can ice a maximum of 14 total points at any time.
The Select Division features the top Blind Hockey players from the Vancouver Eclipse, Edmonton SeeHawks, Toronto Ice Owls, Les Hiboux de Montreal, the NY Nightshades, and players from Canada not affiliated with a club.
SELECT DIVISION SCHEDULE
Friday, March 11
11:00 am – Western All-Stars Morning Skate
11:30 am – Eastern All-Stars Morning Skate
3:15 pm – Select Division East vs West All-Stars Game # 1
Saturday, March 12
5:00 pm – Select Division East vs West All-Stars Game #2
Sunday, March 13
12:30 pm – Select Division East vs West All-Stars Game # 3
For more information on Blind Hockey and the 2016 Canadian Blind Hockey Tournament please visit www.blindicehockey.com or follow on social media @CDNBlindHockey on Twitter or Canadian Blind Hockey Association on Facebook.
SOURCE Courage Canada - Hockey for the Blind Inc.