May 9, 2017
Over the course of ten days, deaf hockey players from around the world competed for the title of being the best in the world. This year, team U.S.A took home the title. The competition was between the U.S.A., Canada, Finland, the Czech Republic and Kazakhstan; most of the teams traveled long distances as the tournament was held in Amherst, NY. This year was especially exciting as a women’s team competed in an exhibition series.
This tournament was like any other hockey tournament, the only differences being that players had to meet certain criteria to be considered hard of hearing; they were not allowed to wear hearing aids, and lights and sirens lined the rink. All the action and intensity of a hockey game remained. The result? Ten days of intense play with one team reining as champions.
Delaney Hockey is a huge proponent of the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association, both in coaching and helping raise funds for hockey players to attend the annual summer camp. This camp helps players better their skills, and realize their potential for competing on the world’s stage at an event such as the Deaf World Hockey Championships.
Throughout the action, spectators and players alike were reminded of an outstanding coach who paved the way for deaf and hard of hearing players: Coach Jeff Sauer. Many remember him as a champion for the game of hockey; constantly working to improve it and all the players he met along the way. An especially outstanding moment was when the women’s teams took the ice. Coach Sauer was a proponent of expanding the women’s program and he would have been thrilled with the outcome.
In all, the U.S.A. proved to be the 2017 champions, but all involved played with great intensity and dedication; 2018 will surely be just as thrilling.