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Hearing impaired forward from Baie Verte playing hockey for central at Winter Games

Noah Walsh of Baie Verte, who was born profoundly deaf, will lace up for Team Central in hockey at the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games.
Noah Walsh of Baie Verte, who was born profoundly deaf, will lace up for Team Central in hockey at the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games. - Submitted

Memories and a medal goals for Noah Walsh

NL — As Team Central Newfoundland begins its quest for a medal at the provincial Winter Games today in Deer Lake, they have a forward taking the ice with an inspirational story.

Noah Walsh of Baie Verte was born profoundly deaf, but does not let his hearing ailment hold him back on the ice — or in life.

The 13-year-old Grade 8 student at Copper Ridge Academy has been playing hockey since the age of four. Following surgeries for cochlear implants — a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person who is profoundly deaf or hard of hearing in both ears — at just 18 months of age and again when he was three years old, that in itself may be considered accomplishment enough. Not for Walsh.

Noah Walsh of Baie Verte
Noah Walsh of Baie Verte

After a short period of uncertainty during his initial practices at the age of 4, he soon fell in love with the sport. He would thrive on the ice.

He stood out as a player with the Baie Verte Sabres until his second year of atom hockey, and then started playing with the Central IcePak AAA teams. After two years in the peewee ranks, he is now playing for the bantam team.

Walsh wears a skull cap under his helmet that helps keep his magnets on while he skates.

“I sometimes don’t hear all instruction in practice, but I read lips and follow along with my teammates and get through it,” Walsh wrote to The Nor’wester in an email. “My teammates are really understanding of my hearing loss and are respectful and patient with me.”

Walsh, like most of his AAA bantam team, went to Bishop’s Falls to try out for the Winter Games team. Coach Rob Canning picked Walsh to represent his region at the Games, which got underway in Deer Lake today.

“I felt great when I saw the list, as this will be a great opportunity and a significant journey,” he said. “I will play with skilled hockey players, and I will be given the chance to make more hockey friends, and hopefully acquire a medal.”

Walsh was really excited about playing in the Winter Games tournament, and looking forward to collecting more hockey memories. He expects staying in the Athlete’s Village with his teammates and other athletes in so many different sports from across the province to be a thrilling experience.

“No parents allowed,” he said.

He is also looking forward to the bus ride from central to western Newfoundland, where athletes from across the province will join him.

Walsh says the central team is hoping to get a medal at the Games.

“My personal goal is to play my best and hopefully collect some points for my team,” he said.

More about Noah Walsh: AAA hockey profile: Noah Walsh of Baie Verte

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