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Blind hockey team started at Falmouth ice rink

A group of visually impaired hockey players have formed a blind hockey team called Maine Blind Bears at Family Ice Center in Falmouth.

FALMOUTH, Maine — There are efforts underway to bring a different version of hockey to Maine.

Practice happens once a week for the Maine Blind Bears at Family Ice Center in Falmouth. All of the players love hockey and some of them share the common quality of being visually impaired. Derek Beck started to lose his sight when he was five years old. 

"In my right eye I can't see anything but light and in my left I can see about half of normal," said Beck.

He was diagnosed with Optic Nerve Atrophy caused by a brain tumor in 2013. His vision loss combined with cancer treatment and surgery took a toll according to his mom, Maxine Beck.

"He missed most of first grade, he missed a lot of second grade and then after 22 months of chemotherapy he went through a lot of anxiety," said Maxine.

Doctors gave the go ahead for Beck to play hockey and today he does that with the Maine Blind Bears. Following the sounds of puck with bells inside to know where he's going and where to shoot.

"To see him get out there, his determination and dedication, nothing holds him back," said Maxine.

Once of his biggest inspirations on the ice has been Dirk Morgan. An ice skater who also lost his vision at a young age, but managed to earn a spot on the USA Blind Hockey Team. Showing players like Beck that goals aren't just made, but also defended. 

"He's our first youth and we're hoping that people will see this and there will be more parents out there that see that hockey is for everybody and no matter what your disability is you can come out and enjoy the game of hockey, which is the best game on earth," said Morgan. 

The Maine Blind Bears practice every Sunday. For more information about the team, click here