First skate for blind students in Saskatoon

Some Saskatoon students with visual impairments laced up today for their first time on the ice.

Courage Canada teaches hockey skills to kids with visual impairments

Students lace up to give skating a try. (Britainy Robinson)

It's a skill many of these students never thought they'd learn. 

Today 15 blind or partially blind children learned to skate through the Courage Canada program.

It was founded by Mark DeMontis a former hockey player who had to give up his NHL dream when he was diagnosed with Leber's Optic Neuropathy, a condition that left him legally blind. DeMontis wanted to create a place where young people with visual impairments could give hockey a try. 

"The number one thing we get from these students through the course of a day is this self-actualization," he says. "That they can achieve anything, even despite their disability."

Before the skate, the students learn about physical training and other sports for the visually impaired. With the help of the Martensville Marauders, the students laced up and hit the ice. 
MacKenzie Wegleitner was unsure up on her skates but glad to get out there and try. (Britainy Robinson)

MacKenzie Wegleitner wasn't totally sold on the sport but still glad she had a chance to try it.

"It's kinda hard in a way but once you practice more, it gets better I guess," she said.

Another clinic day is scheduled for Thursday. The Regina Pats will help students with their skating skills at the Brandt Centre.

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