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Minnesota Hockey announces new hockey program helping people with hearing disabilities

Ice Hockey game

Minnesota Hockey, in partnership with the Minnesota Wild, announced it will be launching a new diversified hockey program for players in Minnesota with hearing disabilities.

The Minnesota Wild Deaf/Hard of Hearing (“HOH”) Hockey program will kick off its inaugural season with a special event on Saturday, September 24 at the St. Louis Park Rec Center in St. Louis Park, Minn.

While official Deaf/HOH competitions feature a lighting system that is used in place of whistles, the games are played with standard playing rules and have minimal modifications. In fact, many participants in Deaf/Hard of Hearing hockey compete on local association, high school or even college teams. Nonverbal communication plays a critical role in the instruction of these athletes as many utilize sign language, lip reading, hearing aids, or interpreters on the bench to ensure understanding of instruction.

“We are really excited to be part of this amazing initiative,” said Raimondo Fusco, president of Minnesota Wild Deaf/HOH Hockey. “The Minnesota Wild Deaf/HOH program will provide a great platform for the incredibly talented players in this community, from all backgrounds and abilities, to showcase their skills and continuing living life to the fullest.”

Minnesota’s Deaf/HOH hockey team will be the first at a state affiliate level in the United States. USA Hockey and the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association (AHIHA) have fielded teams in the Deaflympics since 1991, including gold medals in 1995, 2007 and 2019.

“Minnesota Hockey is excited to welcome the players of the Minnesota Wild Deaf//HOH program into our hockey family,” said Minnesota Hockey President Steve Oleheiser. “We’re proud to be a leader in Diversified Hockey, and with the start of this deaf/hard of hearing program, Minnesota Hockey takes another step toward our goal of ensuring hockey truly is for everyone.”

Minnesota Wild Deaf/HOH Hockey would like to thank the Hendrickson Foundation, Minnesota Hockey, Minnesota Wild and Miracle-Ear for being the program’s founding sponsors.

For additional information, go to www.mnwilddeafhockey.com.

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