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Blind hockey player making a name for himself in Kent

For the second year in a row, Adam Young has been selected to try out with the National Blind Hockey team.

KENT, Wash. — Adam Young is a kennel technician at a veterinarian clinic in Des Moines and said he balances the 12-hour days with his hobby turned passion.  

Young said he moved to Kent so he would be close to the ice.  

“I grew up in Michigan and have always been such a big hockey fan, so when I moved to the Seattle area I knew I wanted to live somewhere that I could skate all the time,” Young said. 

He trains at the Kent Valley Ice Centre several days a week. Young is a defensive player for his club hockey team and said he likes defense because it keeps the game in front of him. 

That’s important for a blind hockey player.

Young said he always wanted to be a hockey player but realized in high school that his vision would limit him because he’s been visually impaired since birth.  

“I have no vision in my left eye and very little in my right eye. I have tunnel vision with a lack of depth perception, so I kinda see everything through a pin hole," he said.

Normal vision is 20/20. Young has 20/2400. 

Young said blind hockey is the perfect form of the sport for him because the rules are the same but the puck is uniquely built for the blind.  

“It’s bigger, metal and makes noise so we rely on sound a lot,” he said.

The larger size makes it more visible for those with some vision and the noise is key for players with little or no vision.

Young said now-friend Mark DeFlorio is responsible for him getting involved in playing with the Seattle Blind Hockey team years ago. DeFlorio is the founder of Seattle Blind Hockey and a former player with the United States National Blind Hockey Team.  

“It’s been really exciting to see his development as a player and as a teammate and ambassador for blind hockey,” said DeFlorio.  

He said passing the torch to a teammate like Adam is important for the growth of the sport.  For the second year in a row, Young has been selected to try out with the National Blind Hockey team and DeFlorio said it’s pure talent earning him the honor.  

“I had vision for more than 30 years and played hockey the whole time, but Adam has none of that background and had to learn the sport without being able to see and that’s amazing.”

Young said playing hockey at a high level is exhilarating and expensive. The hockey pucks cost around $200 a piece and are only used once. The gear and travel expenses add up and Young said he wouldn’t have been able to make it all work with out generous donations.  

A friend set up a GoFundMe and raised more than $4,000. Unfortunately, training camp was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Young is thrilled to have an invitation this summer and is fundraising once again.

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