Spotlight on Dylan Brown, Coach, Vancouver Eclipse Blind Hockey Club and Assistant Tournament Director for the Annual National Blind Ice Hockey Tournament.
Dylan Brown, Active Kids Program Manager with The UBC School of Kinesiology and BKin Alum, recently returned from the 5th Annual National Blind Ice Hockey Tournament in Toronto. As the Assistant Tournament Director for the 5th year in a row, Dylan has long been an active volunteer and supporter in the promotion and advancement of Blind Ice Hockey in Canada.
Blind Ice Hockey is Ice Hockey for the legally blind. The most significant difference is that the sport features an adapted puck that makes noise, and is both bigger and slower than a traditional puck.
Currently, at the national level there are three divisions which reflect the various levels of vision and experience of the athletes. The highest level of competition has a point system based on classification that is similar to Wheelchair Rugby.
“Don’t let the fact that all athletes have 10% vision or less misguide your assumptions, the game can be incredibly fast and exciting at all levels of play!” Dylan explains.
Dylan first became involved with Blind Ice Hockey during his Kinesiology undergraduate degree. He started volunteering as a coach with the Vancouver Eclipse, Vancouver’s Blind Hockey Club and is now also a key volunteer for the recently formed national governing body, Canadian Blind Ice Hockey.
Over the past nine years Dylan’s role has evolved to include coaching, fundraising, refereeing, serving as a sighted guide, sport technical development, and coordinating events at both the local, national, and international level. In the past nine years Dylan has watched the sport flourish with new clubs being formed across the country as well as significant interest and development in the United States.
“In the beginning we only had a few teams across the country each with minimal players, but now we have numerous clubs with a full team of athletes, many of which also have a structured Board that helps strategize recruitment, finances, training and development, and alignment with Canadian Blind Hockey vision and goals ”, Dylan reflects.
As the sport continues to grow, Dylan, along with other Blind Ice Hockey supporters, are actively pursuing the dream of a four nation tournament by 2020, and inclusion for the sport in the 2026 Paralympics.