MINNESOTA WILD DEAF/HOH HOCKEY
Deaf/Hard of Hearing Hockey is for the individual who has been diagnosed with a hearing loss. The game is played according to USA Hockey rules and instruction is based on the individual players ability to improve their skills in an environment that is receptive to their needs and demands. The ability to communicate with coaches and other players regardless of their method of communication is a huge focus. Whether a player utilizes sign language, lip reading, hearing aids, or cochlear implants, etc. coaches and volunteers are there to make sure they understand the instruction. Interpreters are accessed on an as needed basis and according to the needs of the players and situations. Personal and volunteer interpreters are always welcome on the bench.
Many Deaf/Hard of Hearing Hockey players participate in their local hockey associations and in high school, college and jr. teams. Many have also gone on to play for the US Deaf Ice Hockey Team in the Deaflympics. Participation allows players the opportunity to achieve goals and become successful in both life and hockey. Minnesota Wild Deaf/HOH Hockey is expanding on this concept to create the first district Deaf/HOH Association in the country.
HERE'S HOW IT WORKS:
Any hockey player or coach will tell you, since hockey is the fastest played game in the world, communication is an integral part of a hockey team’s success. Imagine playing a hockey game and not being able to hear a teammate call your name for a pass. It’s almost hard to fathom. Being able to perform under these circumstances shows how skilled and talented deaf hockey players are.
Coaches communicate to the players through an interpreter or volunteers skilled in ASL. Many players are adept at reading the lips of their coaches and teammates. Players also use their hands and sticks to communicate when the situation allows.
When a whistle blows during the game, referees raise their arms or shine lasers on the ice to inform the players that there has been a stoppage in play.
During games, strobe lights are installed outside of the rink near the boards that illuminate when a whistle has been blown so that players know the play is dead.
Not every player is completely deaf. However, MN Wild Deaf/HOH hockey welcomes players with all levels of hearing loss. National eligibility, meaning for those who may want to play on the national team, requires that a player must have at least a 55 decibel loss in their better hearing ear.
To participate in World Deaf Ice Hockey Championship games, all players are required to remove devices used to improve a players’ hearing such as hearing aids or cochlear implants.
ON ICE EQUIPMENT NEEDED:
Helmet (cage or clear visor for those under 18)
Jill Shorts/Protective cup
Jerseys and Socks provided by the program.
Recommended places to purchase equipment:
Play It Again Sports (used and new)
Minnesota Wild Deaf/HOH hockey provides a program that builds confidence and increased self-esteem while establishing social and recreational opportunities for our athletes through the game of hockey.
The origin of Deaf/Hard of Hearing Ice Hockey can be traced back to the early 1900’s. The first games, known as the International Silent Games, were held in 1924 in Paris. Since then, Summer Games have been held with over 100 athletes competing. The first Winter Games were held in Seefeld, Austria, in 1949 with 33 athletes from five countries competing.
In 1973, the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association (AHIHA,) one of the largest deaf sports organizations in the nation, was formed. Since that time, AHIHA has regularly held seasonal camps, clinics and competitions for deaf and hard of hearing hockey players. The USA presented a team at the first ice hockey demo at the 1975 Deaflympics, and the national ice hockey team has brought home 5 medals in the last 5 winter Deaflympics.
As a member of USA Hockey, Deaf/HOH Hockey has seen growth across the county, welcoming new players to the sport as well as supporting Deaf athletes who play with their typical teams and associations to come together to participate in the annual USA Hockey Disabled Festival.
In 2022, Minnesota Hockey, in partnership with the Minnesota Wild, announced the launch of Minnesota’s first ever Deaf/HOH hockey program.