Gintoli headed to World Deaf Ice Hockey Championships

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Coming off one of the most successful seasons in men’s ice hockey history, forward Peter Gintoli ’16 is ready to help another team – Team USA – make a run at the 2013 World Deaf Ice Hockey Championships.

Team USA will head to Helsinki, Finland to compete at the World Deaf Hockey Championships beginning March 30. This is Gintoli’s second stint with the team, as he was a member of the 2009 bronze medal team when he was 17. This time around, he will be joined by his younger brother, Garrett, who is just 16 and will be the youngest competitor at the championships.

Like his mother, brother and sister, Gintoli was born with Melnick-Fraser Syndrome. Found in 1 out of 40,000 individuals, the genetic disorder is characterized by malformations in the inner and middle ear, causing hearing loss. Diagnosed as an infant, Gintoli has undergone surgery and the use of technological devices to assist in his hearing. Currently he has 70 percent hearing loss in his left ear and is, at best, 50/50 in his right.

The World Deaf Hockey Championships draw the same ice hockey powerhouses that exist in the hearing world: Russia, Canada, Finland, Sweden and the United States. Asked if someone would notice any differences watching a deaf competition, Gintoli said, “The game is the same with just a couple of differences. Each team must have someone on the bench who can sign the coach’s instructions as all players are prohibited from using any hearing aids during competition.”

There is one technological aid available to the players. “When a referee blows his whistle, an official at the scoring table pushes a button triggering a series of coordinated lights around the rink to blink three times so that we know the play is over,” Gintoli said. “Honestly, we don’t need it that often because we all know the game so well.”

At Salve Regina this season, Gintoli and the Seahawks tied for the second-most win total in the program’s history and went to the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference Northeast championship game for the first time.

“I love the kid,” said heach coach Andy Boschetto. “He is awesome.¬†We lucked out getting him. He exudes passion for everything he does and it is contagious. As a freshman, he is already a team leader because everyone on the team sees his work ethic, passion and willingness to do what it takes for the team.”

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