GTHL alumnus Mark DeMontis wins Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award in Canada

Mark DeMontis is the recipient of the 2024 Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award in Canada, presented by Hyundai, given to an individual who through the sport of hockey has positively impacted their community, culture or society.

The winner was decided through public voting, and votes from O’Ree, NHL executives and Hyundai executives.

DeMontis, an alumnus of the Greater Toronto Hockey League, is the founder of Canadian Blind Hockey and a member of the Canadian National Blind Hockey team. The 37-year-old has volunteered countless hours to raising awareness and supporting the game for those who are blind or visually impaired. His energy and commitment have opened the door to thousands of blind and partially sighted children who thought they’d never experience hockey.

One focus has been broadening a recreational base that might eventually bring blind hockey to the Paralympic Games and create a world championship.

“The most gratifying thing has been seeing the impact, first-hand, especially with youngsters and their families,” DeMontis said. “It’s always been a goal of mine to show blind or partially sighted youth across the country, and around the world for that matter, that blind hockey not only existed, but that they could participate despite their disability.”

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