Deaf Awareness Night at NY Islanders, Photo by Gary Noll
The NHL New York Islanders recently held a successful Deaf Awareness Night at UBS Arena in Elmont, NY. What made it successful? Mostly, the communication technology the organization provided to sports fans who are deaf or hard of hearing.
The Islanders offered an ASL (American Sign Language) PIP (Picture in Picture) on the giant center-hung video scoreboard. The signer communicated the messages the PA Announcer delivered as well as signed the national anthem. The signers were a part of in-game contests and activities and signed all game penalties.
UBS Arena, ASL PIP, Photo by Gary Noll
The media individuals provided closed captioning on the main scoreboard for all video features that had spoken words.
UBS Arena, Closed Captioning on Scoreboard, Photo by Gary Noll
The ribbon board provided not only game penalty and scoring announcements (goals and assists) but sponsor’s advertisements, stadium safety data, and mobile captioning instructions.
UBS Arena, Pertinent Information on Ribbon Board, Photo by Gary Noll
Finally, several sponsors were available on the concourse:
Olive Osmond Hearing Fund whose mission is to improve and provide educational, musical, and hearing resources available to the deaf and hard of hearing.
Mill Neck Foundation, a Long Island Family of Organizations whose nonprofit groups are dedicated to creating a world in which Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals are included, empowered, celebrated, and embraced as equals through quality education, employment, audiological and spiritual programs, and services.
The tables serve as a good meeting point between parties. The Mill Neck table provided ASL interpreter services for this event.
Mill Neck Foundation Table with ASL Interpreters, Photo by Gary Noll
Sadly, the New York Islanders lost the game to the Los Angeles King 3–2 that evening. Nonetheless, many deaf fans immensely enjoyed their evening at the arena and were easily able to follow along with the game.
Kudos to the New York Islanders who deserve an A+ in their efforts to make sporting events accessible to all sports fans. The Islanders are planning a Deaf Awareness Night next season, so check their schedule.
Here’s hoping more and more sports arenas and stadiums incorporate technology for deaf sports fans to enjoy and follow the game day action on a more regular basis.
Note: Special thanks to Gary Noll for sending Stadium Journey this information and photos. Gary advocates for live closed captioning and ASL on video boards in sports arenas. He also provided guidance to the NY Islanders organization on making Deaf Awareness Night the fantastic success it was.
Gary Noll with Sparky and Justin Ormond at UBS Arena