Blind, Special, Standing Amputee, and Warrior hockey disciplines were all on display as champions were crowned over the course of the first weekend (March 30-April 2) of the 2023 Toyota-USA Hockey Disabled Hockey Festival in greater St. Louis, Missouri. In total, 58 teams comprised of some 850 athletes competed during week one of the Festival.
The second weekend of the event will take place April 13-16 in the greater St. Louis area, with the Sled discipline taking center stage. A schedule, along with scores and stats, is available here. Games will be streamed on LiveBarn.
The 2023 Festival features a record 130 teams competing over the course of the two weekends across all disciplines.
Overall, eight different blind hockey teams competed at this year’s Festival. Teams were divided into three divisions: novice, intermediate, and advanced.
The novice division included two teams, with Team Yellow defeating Team Black 1-0 in their lone matchup.
The intermediate division was comprised of two teams, playing two games over the course of the weekend, with Team Black winning both matchups over Team Yellow.
Four teams competed in the advanced division, playing one game each over the weekend. Team Yellow defeated Team Black 2-1, while Blind Select and Dawg Nation skated to a 4-4 tie.
There were 26 total special hockey teams who competed, with teams separated into three divisions: Cheetah, Lion, and Tiger. Each team competed at least twice over the course of the weekend, with several teams playing three games.
Special hockey is focused the camaraderie and social elements of the game. Following each special hockey team’s final game of the Festival, each squad received a championship banner, along with medals for each player.
There was one standing amputee team that competed over the weekend, USA Standing Amputee, who participated in the Warrior discipline tournament. USA Standing Amputee made it to the championship game of their Warrior tier.
Standing amputee hockey is played upright and follows typical ice hockey rules. The discipline has allowed a growing number of athletes with congenital or acquired amputations or other physical impairments to enjoy the sport of hockey.
Players use prostheses to control a hockey stick or skate. Combining players with various types of disabilities creates a unique team experience.
A total of 26 teams competed in the Warrior discipline, an increase from the 24 teams at last year’s Festival. Warrior teams were divided into pools for round robin play, then split into seven tiers for playoff rounds.
Colorado Warriors A won the Elite tier, the Pittsburgh Warriors took home the Valiant tier, USA Warriors White won the Heritage tier, St. Louis Blues Warriors won the Independence tier, Minnesota Warriors Duluth won the America tier, Minnesota Warriors Metro were Freedom tier champions, and Colorado Warriors B took home the National tier title.