By USA Hockey
Colorado Springs, CO – Each Annual Congress, USA Hockey honors its service award recipients and other players of the year at the Night of Tribute Awards Dinner in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The June 5 award recipients included Adult Player of the Year Cathy Moeller (Plaistow, N.H.); Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year Kendall Coyne Schofield (Palos Heights, Ill.); Dave Tyler Junior Player of the Year Ronnie Attard (White Lake, Mich.); Dave Peterson Goalie of the Year Isaiah Saville (Anchorage, Alaska); Jim Johannson College Player of the Year Adam Fox (Jericho, N.Y.); and Disabled Athlete of the Year Daniel Belding (Indianapolis, Ind.).
Disabled Athlete of the Year – Daniel Belding
Daniel Belding is an inaugural member of the Colorado Visionaries, a blind hockey program that was founded in 2018.
A major force in growing the program, Belding recruited new players and made sure current players’ needs were met with the program. After moving to Indianapolis, he quickly introduced himself to both the blind and hockey communities in his new city. He has since started a blind hockey program in Indianapolis that has gained traction over the past several months.
Despite limited central vision and even more limited peripheral vision, Belding plays blind hockey to enjoy the game he loves and compete amongst his peers who are just as passionate as him. He says playing blind hockey allows him and his peers to “give each other hope and a positive outlook on the future of a life with blindness.”
Belding grew up with a dream of becoming a professional hockey player. After beginning to play ice hockey as a six-year-old, he felt the game was moving too fast at age 15 and made the decision to step away from the game. At the time, he thought his dreams of playing hockey were over. However, “blind hockey has given me my dreams back,” said Belding.
A leader on and off the ice, Belding’s peers describe him as a leader by example. While he spends plenty of time honing his skills, Belding encourages his teammates to put their mistakes behind them and encourages everyone around him to be a leader.
Since trying out and earning a spot on the first ever U.S. Blind Hockey Team, Belding has helped start two blind hockey programs, all while planning a wedding and moving halfway across the country.
“I feel as if I surpassed my dream of being a professional hockey player and I’ve been granted the honor of representing my country playing the sport I love,” said Belding.
The Disabled Athlete of the Year Award recognizes a disabled athlete that has displayed incredible dedication to disabled hockey in the United States.