Minnesota to host 7th Annual USA Disabled Hockey Festival

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After waiting what felt like forever, the 2010-11 hockey season is finally here along with all the excitement and events that comes with it.

Fans are excited for the new season, and guess what - so are us writers. There is so much to look forward to this season: new hopes, new experiences. The Winter Classic is heading to Pittsburgh and will have media overload on Sid the Kid and Alex the Great, an All-Star game headed to North Carolina and the NHL Draft heading to Minnesota.

These are not the only special events to look forward to this season and not the only one heading to Minnesota - the 7th annual USA Disabled Hockey Festival is coming this spring.

Stick with me after the jump to learn more about this event and the organizations involved.

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The USA Disabled Hockey Festival will be held April 1-3 at the Schwan Super Rink in Blaine, Minnesota.  The event will have representation from all four areas of disabled hockey: Deaf/hard of hearing hockey, special hockey, sled hockey and standing/amputee hockey.

The 2010 USA Disabled Hockey Festival took place in Laurel, Maryland ( just outside of Washington D.C.) and was host to 50 teams from across 20 States.  Nearly 800 players and their family, friends, and fans were bought to the area for the love of this great sport.    Tourniments at the festival are not only held for the four disciplines of disabled hockey but are also broken down into youth and adult. 

Last years festival saw many special guest appearances including star of Food Networks "Ace of Cakes" Chef Duff Goldman.  Chef Duff and his staff designed and produced a custom-made cake that he delivered.  The cakes creation, delivery, and even Chef Duff's appearance on ice playing with the gold medal winning Team USA Sled Hockey team was featured on the July 22nd episode of "Ace of Cakes"giving the USA Disabled Hockey Festival national publicity.  Another special guest at last years event was an appearnce of Lord Stanley's Cup.  Each participating team was able to get their team photograph with The Cup. 

Members of the USA Warriors Ice Hockey Program were also featured in games at last years event.  The USA Warriors is an exclusive program for the United States Military personnel were wounded while defending the country. Created with a mission of its own to provide recreational, therapeutic experience and education to all of its participants.

Last year the gold medal winning Team USA Sled Hockey made an appearance and had a meet and greet session where they signed autographs and took pictures withfans with their gold medals. One of the members of the team, Alexi Salamone, was on hand last night as the Minnesota Wild along with USA Hockey, Minnesota Hockey, and the Schwan Super Rink held a press conference prior to the Wild's preseason opener agianst the St. Louis Blues. The game then featured Disabled Hockey though out with a flag bearer, program sellers, Let's Play Hockey, as well as featuring a special game and a sled hockey game.

Be sure to check out the USA Hockey Disabled Festival Blog run by the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) that covered last years event and is already being updated for the 2011 event in Minnesota.   

NHL Hockey is for Everyone has onated items in the past for the silent auction to raise money for the programs that participate in the USA Disabled Hockey Festival.

Be sure to check out ASHA on Facebook and on Twitter for more information on the 7th Annual Disabled Hockey Festival and even how to volunteer.

Thank you for reading and your support.

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