Good vibrations for hearing impaired hockey player

13-year-old Noah Walsh is a strong, fast player on the central hockey team and he has his own way of following the play.

Noah Walsh's teammates praise his performance in bronze medal win at N.L. Winter Games

Noah Walsh has two cochlear implants. He also reads lips - a skill that comes in handy at a loud rink. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Noah Walsh is a strong, fast player on the central region hockey team competing in the Newfoundland and Labrador Winter Games. He just happens to be hearing impaired.

"I can understand vibrations," said Walsh.

Noah Walsh playing his heart out during the bronze medal game at the provincial winter games. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

He uses the shake from the puck hitting the boards to navigate the rink and has other skills for when the arena gets too loud and overwhelming. 

"Sometimes I might not get everything. I just follow the passes and read lips, especially when I'm talking to my coach and the music is playing," said Noah Walsh.

Walsh, who lives in Baie Verte, started playing hockey when he was four. He's had cochlear implants since he was 18 months old and his hearing impairment has never stopped him from playing.

Noah Walsh, right, who's from Baie Verte, has been playing hockey since he was four. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

"I've played with him since I was four or five and Noah has always been one of the top players on the team," said Marty Bowers.

"Noah is one of my best friends," said Mitchell Dinn.

"He's very quiet, because of his hearing. But for a guy that's hearing impaired on the ice, he hears a lot! And he's very aware," said Dinn.

Walsh is fast and darts across the ice quickly.

Marty Bowers and Mitchell Dinn say their friend and teammate Noah Walsh is a great, fast hockey player. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

"He's more of a skater, stick handling, offensive forward, not very tall so more on the faster side," Dinn said.

Walsh loves hockey and said playing at the provincial games was a once-in-a lifetime experience.

"I just find it really fun. I like playing with my friends and creating memories," said Walsh. 

The central team took home bronze when they beat the Avalon team 3-1. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The central hockey team took home a bronze medal, beating the Avalon team 3-1 during a game in Deer Lake Tuesday. 

This was the central team's first win in two months and the teen hockey players hope to ride high on that win when they play in their next provincial tournament March 23 in Harbour Grace.

About the Author

Colleen Connors

CBC News

Colleen Connors reports on western Newfoundland from CBC's bureau in Corner Brook.