Brock Kitterman - #17
Birthday: November 8
Hometown: Bethel Park, PA
School: Bethel Park High School
Favorite subject: Math
Brock was diagnosed at 12 weeks of age with Bilateral Retinoblastoma (eye cancer of both eyes). The chemo he received to treat the cancer damaged his hearing leaving him with deafblindness. Brock started playing special hockey when he was 6 years old. Unfortunately, his hockey career was short lived as he needed a team that was better suited for his vision. Brock was one of the original Pittsburgh Blind Hockey players in 2016. He is now in his 6th year with the team.
Brock has participated in three Blind Ice Hockey Summits, including two in Pittsburgh one in Chicago. Brock has also participated in the Chicago & Tampa Disabled Hockey Festivals. Brock has played blind ice hockey in Toronto, DC & New York City’s Central park, Minnesota and at the Windy City Showdown in Chicago.
In addition to playing hockey, Brock is also a triathlete. He has completed over 77 triathlons. He is the two time reigning USA Youth National Paratriathlon Champion (2019 & 2021) along with the Mideast Regional Para Champion and the Northeast Regional Para triathlon Champion. In September 2019 Brock attended the USA Olympic Paralympic Training Center for VI triathlete training in Colorado and in February 2020 he again had the opportunity to attend another triathlon camp at the Olympic Training Center in Alabama. Brock is a 2019 Paratriathlete All American.
Brock has high hopes of someday making the National team and going to the winter Paralympics for Blind Ice Hockey and the summer Paralympics for Triathlon.
Brock is a roller coaster enthusiast. He also likes to camp, read, play video games and play with his two dogs Bodie & Daxx (who just so happen to be deafblind, just like Brock).
After high school, Brock plans on attending a College of Engineering.
TJ Stewart - Goalie #25
Birthday: January 21
School: Graduate of Laurel Highlands
T.J. started playing hockey when he was 4 years old. He played until he was 9 ½ years old when he had an ATV accident that left him permanently blind.
On T.J.’s 21st birthday he started his first practice with the blind ice hockey team. It was the best birthday he ever had. To be back in the sport he thought he lost forever was a dream come true.
T.J. has participated in three blind ice hockey summits including two in Pittsburgh and one in Chicago. He also participated in the Chicago, San Hose, Ca. & Tampa Disabled Hockey Festivals. T.J. has also played hockey in Toronto (two times) Canada, D.C. and Minnesota.
In addition to playing blind hockey, T.J. works at the TNT shooting grounds. T.J. Hopes one day he will play in the Paralympics.
T.J. enjoys hunting, fishing and playing drums.
T.J. is such an inspiration. He has inspired so many people and continues to inspire. T.J. has never let his disability set him back from doing the things he loves and enjoys.
He just enjoys life and lives it to the fullest!
Tommy Guy #87
Birthday: January 3
School: Apollo Ridge Middle School
Tommy has had vision problems since birth. When he was three months old, his PCP noticed that he did not have control of his eyes. Right away, Tommy went to an eye doctor and was diagnosed with Nystagmus. At age 7, Tommy was diagnosed with Achromatopsia.
Tommy joined the Pittsburgh Blind Hockey team on November 19, 2016. He has participated in two Blind Hockey Summits in Pittsburgh, PA and a tournament in Toronto Canada.
When Tommy isn’t on the ice, he enjoys hunting, fishing and annoying his sisters. He also enjoys playing video games in his spare time.
Brandon Wingard #30
Birthday: September 25th
School: Seneca Valley Intermediate High School, 9th grade
Brandon was born with Bilateral Coloboma which is a part of CHARGE Syndrome. He has little to no peripheral vision and within his field of vision, he has low vision. His vision is in the 20/400 range.
This is Brandon’s third season playing with Pittsburgh Blind Hockey team. He has played in the Blind Hockey Summit last season in Cranberry and travelled to play with other blind hockey athletes in Harrisburg last month.
When Brandon is not playing hockey, he enjoys playing baseball with the Miracle League in Cranberry, and play video games. He enjoys learning to cook. His favorite class in school is biology.
Lily Hughes #99
Birthday: May 1st
School: Shaler Area Elementary School
Favorite Subject: Science and Social Studies
Lily was diagnosed at 3 months old with Infantile Nystagmus. She had two eye muscle surgeries to strengthen her eye muscles. Then, at 7 years old she was diagnosed with Achromatopsia.
This is Lily’s first full year playing with the Pittsburgh Blind Ice Hockey team. She played at the Canadian National Blind Hockey Tournament in Toronto and recently traveled to play with other blind hockey athletes in Harrisburg and New Jersey.
When Lily isn’t playing hockey, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends. She enjoys traveling to new places, especially to the beach. Lily loves fashion and makeup. She has high hopes of becoming either a Makeup Artist or Fashion Designer one day.
Caleb Henderson - #2
Birthday: July 9th
School: Stewart Elementary School
Caleb was diagnosed with Senior Loken Syndrome, Lebers Congenital Amarosis, and nystagmus around his first birthday. Caleb currently has light perception and a small amount of peripheral vision.
Outside of hockey, he loves spending time with his 3 dogs and listening to books of all sorts. His favorite book series is Harry Potter!
Caleb is looking forward to his second year with the Rhinos while learning to be a goalie as well as practicing to be the fastest skater on the team!
Julia Murray - #20
Birthday: July 20
School: Baldwin High School
Julia was born with cone-rod dystrophy and nystagmus. She also has a bilateral hearing loss. She wears cochlear implants to help her hear.
She joined the Pittsburgh Blind ice hockey team in September of 2018. She got to go to the Summit in Minnesota. She also went to Harrisburg to play hockey. She is looking forward to the next season with the Rhinos!
Outside of playing Hockey, Julia also rows on the Three Rivers Rowing team. She is also involved in Special Olympics, Best Buddies, math league, and stage crew for her school. She also loves to read, ski, watch netflix, hang out with her friends, and family.
Emma Papariella - #10
Birthday: December 6th
College: Freshman @ Slippery Rock University
Major: Recreational Therapy
Minor: Adapted Physical Activity
Emma was born with cataracts. They were not removed until she was three and a half. She has had a total of 3 surgeries, 1 in China and 2 more after she was adopted. Emma received lens implants, but she didn’t receive enough light, therefore causing her to have an underdeveloped optic nerve. Emma also has many more minor vision conditions including, astigmatism, nystagmus, amblyopia (lazy eye), light sensitivity, and no depth perception.
Emma has been playing blind hockey since her freshman year of high school. She has participated in 2 Blind Hockey summits in Pittsburgh, Blind Hockey Summit in Minnesota, Disabled Hockey Festival in Chicago, and she also attended the Canadian National Blind Hockey Tournament in Toronto. Emma has also traveled to Harrisburg and New Jersey to play with other blind hockey athletes. Most recently, Emma traveled to Chicago to play in the Windy City Blind Hockey Showdown. Emma has met some of her greatest friends through blind hockey from all over the country and in Canada.
Emma graduated from Woodland Hills Senior High School in May of 2021with High Honors. She is now a freshman at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania majoring in Recreational Therapy with a minor in Adapted Physical Activity. She is a member of The Honors College, a part of the Student Government Association (SGA), The Recreational Therapy Club, The Outdoor Recreational Club and The Adapted Physical Activity Club. She is also a student volunteer at the Storm Harbor Equestrian Center on campus.
Off the ice Emma enjoys spending time with her family and friends, listening to music, and learning about different eye conditions/disabilities. During the winters you can find Emma out on the ski slopes and during the summer you will find her in the water doing some type of water sport. She also loves to be around younger kids. She has 6 nieces and nephews and often babysits them or for other families. Emma is very excited for another season of blind hockey and to meet new athletes!