Blind hockey player makes a name for himself in Kent

For the second year in a row, Adam Young has been selected to try out for the national blind hockey team.

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

Young said he moved to Kent to be near the ice.

“I grew up in Michigan and was always a huge hockey fan, so when I moved to the Seattle area I knew I wanted to live somewhere where I could skate all the time,” said Young said.

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

It’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 was 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 see a bit of everything through a pinhole,” did he declare.

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

Young said blind hockey was the perfect form of sport for him because the rules are the same, but the puck is specially designed for the blind.

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

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

Young said his friend Mark DeFlorio was responsible for his gambling involvement with the Seattle blind hockey team years ago. DeFlorio is the founder of Seattle Blind Hockey and a former player of the United States National Blind Hockey Team.

“It was really exciting to watch his development as a player and as a teammate and ambassador for blind hockey,” DeFlorio said.

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 was selected to try out for the National Blind Hockey Team and DeFlorio said it was his sheer talent that earned him the honor.

“I had a vision for over 30 years and played hockey all the time, but Adam has none of that 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. Hockey pucks cost around $200 each and are only used once. Equipment and travel costs add up, and Young said he wouldn’t have been able to make it all work without generous donations.

A friend created a GoFundMe and raised over $4,000. Unfortunately, training camp has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so Young is thrilled to have an invite this summer and is fundraising again.

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Catherine J. Martinez