Even though he was born with Oculocutaneous albinismand has ten percent vision, meaning he is legally blind, he found a way to keep playing the sport he loves while also growing it.
Regardless of his circumstances, Ciulla is a strong leader who perservers and has an optimistic view on life.
He currently plays with the Vancouver Eclipse Blind Hockey Team in preparation for the next Canadian National Team tournament.
The team recently played against the US in Toronto, for the second annual Canadian Blind Hockey in March this year.
Blind Hockey Canada is in the middle of a campaign to get the sport approved for the 2026 Paralympic Games.
Watch the documentary
Our goal was to uncover Anthony Ciulla’s story of being a “not-your-average” athlete. We are following his journey into the ability-inclusive community of blind hockey. As a group we discovered his success, struggles and future.
This documentary tells the story of one athlete with a disability, but it will help paint a bigger picture of a group of people that tend to be neglected in the public eye. Countless people around the world face different adversities in their lives and fight for things that a great deal of us take for granted and that’s why it’s important to share these stories. Explaining Anthony’s journey is vital now because Blind Hockey Canada is in the middle of a campaign to get the sport approved for the 2026 Paralympic Games. It takes a long time for a sport to get certified, so we decided to show the beginning stages of that process.
As a group of four females, we wanted to challenge and push ourselves out of our comfort zones by making a sports documentary. It has been an amazing experience to tell Anthony’s story and we hope the viewers enjoy it as much as we did making it!
“I’ve always loved to play hockey. Before I started playing with the eclipse-I was playing a little bit of recreational hockey with my sons.”
Percentage of blindness: no central vision in one eye
Vincent VezinaLibrary Technician
“It allows me to be free. So, everywhere I go I need someone or I need something to assist me. When I play hockey, I don’t.”
Percentage of blindness: two percent vision
Mark BentzBusiness Owner
“I played competitive hockey before I lost my vision, so I was a goalie and actually played in this rink as a sighted person for almost 20 years…I’ve been playing for ten and half years now… I like the commodore and the sport, the game.”
Percentage of blindness: right eye is a prosthetic, left eye has two percent vision
Luca Demontis is the Program Manager for Canadian Blind Hockey and the General Manager of their national hockey team. He has been with the non-profit organization since the beginning and is a key part of the management team for all six Canadian National Blind Hockey tournaments.
Luca is the founding coach of the Canadian Blind Hockey Summer Development Camp and has coached at many regional tournaments. He aims to make every member’s experience on and off the ice as amazing as possible.
Group member Ashley Moliere interviewed Luca over the phone to chat a little bit more about Blind Hockey Canada, their players, what people should know about the sport, how it differs from regular hockey and how the sport is developing!
More about the parasport and organization
Canadian Blind Hockey is a national registered charity that runs children’s “try it” sessions, learn to skate programs, development camps, eastern and western regional tournaments, as well as a flagship Canadian National Blind Hockey Tournament.
The parasport of Blind Hockey is played by athletes whose level of vision ranges from legally blind – which is approximately 10% vision – to completely blind, using an adapted puck that makes noise and is bigger than a traditional puck.
This past year has been a monumental year for the growth of Blind Hockey. The organization had their first-ever European participants compete, introduced the Children and Youth Division to Canadian Nationals, and partnered with USA Hockey to put on the words first-ever International Blind Ice Hockey Series in Pittsburgh, in October 2018.
The association governs blind hockey in Canada and helps promote the sport globally. Right now, only Canada and the United States have blind hockey programs but both organizations are working together to promote the sport so that there can be a four-nation tournament by 2020.
There are currently an all-time high of 22 Blind Hockey programs established across North America, and beginnings of Blind Hockey programs in England and Finland.
First shoot day - February 22nd
Today was our first day shooting our TV doc! We have been planning for this shoot for a few weeks now and were excited to get started!
Our documentary is about a blind Canadian Blind Hockey player named Anthony Ciulla, his journey with the sport and how he and his teammates are working to get the sport approved for the Paralympic Games.
We filmed our main subject, Anthony, getting ready for practice, interacting with his teammates, and playing hockey. We also conducted our interview with him. This first session was great but we also learned some valuable lessons. For one, we need warmer clothing inside the rink next time! Also, after reviewing our footage, we realized that interviewing Anthony inside the rink was not ideal because there was too much external noise.
However, the sequences we got of him getting ready and playing hockey are fantastic and we can’t wait to put those together in editing! We plan to meet up with Anthony again within the coming weeks to film more footage of him in action.
Another day at the rink - March 8th
We were back at the rink today to film Anthony for our doc. This time, we knew exactly what shots we needed to fill out our “mind movie” so that made the whole process much easier.
For example, we had to re-do our interview in a quieter place, and we did that outside of the rink in the lobby with the rink in the background. We also missed a sequence of Anthony coming onto the ice for the first time, so we got that as well. We were also able to lav-up Anthony so we could hear his conversations with his teammates while he played. In addition, we came back with warmer clothing!
Our group is definitely feeling more confident after this filming session because we have lots of amazing, action-packed footage to play with for editing.
When disaster strikes! - March 19th
Last night, we filmed an interview at the Ciulla home with Anthony’s dad, Gino, to ask him a few questions about what Anthony has overcome, and his hopes and dreams for his son.
Everything seemed to go well but when we tried to do some ingesting and editing of the footage, we realized that one of the cameras didn’t have a SD card in it or it had someone else’s card in the holder that wasn’t any of ours. Either way, the footage is gone which is a major blow for us.
Anthony and his family are now in Toronto for the Blind Hockey Canada tournament so we will need to reach out when they get back to see if we can re-shoot that interview. I think this is a big lesson in communication for our group. Next time we will need to triple check that both cameras are totally ready to go before we begin to film!
Editing, editing and more editing - end of March
We have spent the past few weeks editing our doc. A rough cut of the doc had to be done to show our class on March 29th.
It was a really good experience where we were able to get some great advice from our classmates to really enhance the doc. Even though losing the footage a few weeks ago was really hard, it was kind of a blessing in disguise because we have now changed the storyline of our doc!
We will talk to the Ciulla family after the tournament to see how it went, what it was like to for Anthony’s parents to see him play, and what their hopes are for the future of blind hockey. We think it will be a much nicer way to wrap up the his story.
Overall, we have all had a really good time editing and have all learned more about Adobe Premiere Pro. We are scheduled to interview the Ciulla family on April 9th which is three days before the doc is due, which means we will need to edit as quickly as possible but we are very clear about what we need to get to make it successful!
Tying up loose ends - April 10th
This evening we finished our final shoot. This was a re-do of the March 18th shoot as we lost our footage from that day. Honestly, as mentioned in a previous post, it ended up being a blessing in disguise because we’re now able to change our storyline to make the documentary have a proper beginning, middle and end. Although we’re down to the wire, we’re glad we filmed this interview with Anthony and his parents again because it turned out amazing! Now, it’s a matter of isolating powerful clips and pairing them with some of our other footage to make the documentary flow nicely.
This experience has been challenging but extremely rewarding. From the beginning, we have all had the same vision and followed through with it. We’re very excited for everyone to see our doc and we hope Anthony is proud of our work.
I am passionate about investigative journalism, current events, true crime, and pop culture. I want to be a multi-skilled journalist that can work on any platform of media (radio, digital or TV). I also have a love for documentaries and podcasts that scratch below the surface of an ongoing issue.
My other hobbies include music, travel, soccer, craft beer, and photography.
My passions include cinematic storytelling, travel documentaries, food adventures and culture shocking experiences. My heart is set on traveling the world. I want to share peoples stories as well as my own experiences learning from those around me.
My goal is to have a platform where I can share different people’s voices. I want to transport my audience to new places while teaching them new things.
My love for journalism stemmed from my first newscast in high school.
I‘m interested in current affairs, true crime, creative storytelling and photojournalism. I’m passionate about long-form documentaries because they dive deeper into everyday stories.
My goal in the future is to chase stories across the globe and make a difference one story at a time.
If I were to describe myself in three words, it would be creative, detailed and vivacious.
I decided to pursue a career in journalism because I wanted to story tell and evoke emotion.
I’m also a lover of fast-paced digital news and creating long-form profile documentaries.
During my spare time, I enjoy traveling, trying new foods, finding new music and watching nature documentaries.