Trey Wilson of the Anaheim Bullfrogs took two steps as he lowered himself and walked around SJC Bullies defenseman Ian Rezac and scored his first professional goal in MLRH (Major League Roller Hockey). The difference being that Wilson, an exceptionally skilled athlete, is deaf.
Here is what Helene Elliot of the LA Times had to say about Wilson:
Trey Wilson can't hear the crowd applaud when he scores a goal, and he has scored quite a few since he discovered hockey was a perfect outlet for his energy.
The 25-year-old left wing from Riverside was born deaf, which means he can't hear the crunch of skates on ice or the shrill tweet of a referee's whistle, sounds as integral to hockey as pucks and sticks
To Wilson, not being able to hear isn't a problem. It certainly hasn't prevented him from excelling at the sport he took to naturally and without fear of being at a disadvantage.
"No, not at all," he signed, with girlfriend Delaynee Watson interpreting. "I've always just kept my head up and passed the puck and made sure I'm aware of what's going on."
Wilson has always played on teams with players who can hear, and he transferred from Martin Luther King High — where he met Watson — to Valencia to play for the Valencia Flyers junior team. Communication problems meant he wasn't always welcomed by teammates, but he never allowed himself to become discouraged.
"Sometimes they're rough on me and sometimes they treat me as an equal," he said, "because that's just how hockey is."
Hockey also has proved to be his ticket to a rare experience.
This weekend he will play for Team USA at the second World Deaf Ice Hockey Championships in Vantaa, Finland, under the umbrella of the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Assn. and USA Hockey. The 23 players range in age from 19 to 47, and all have hearing loss of at least 55 decibels in their "better" ear. Hearing aids or cochlear implants can't be worn during competition. Many have played on mainstream teams, including goaltender Jeff Mansfield for Princeton and others at the Rochester Institute of Technology and club teams.
In this competition, as at the Deaflympics, strobe lights around the rink will flash to alert players to stoppages. The tournament starts Saturday and ends April 6.
"I'm so excited, no words can describe it," Wilson said recently in Anaheim after meeting several Ducks after a morning skate. "I'm really looking forward to it."
This will be Wilson's first international championship. He didn't make the 2007 Deaflympics team or the bronze-medal-winning 2009 world championship squad, and the 2011 Deaflympics were canceled after the chief organizer embezzled money that had been paid for hotel rooms. The loss of those funds still hurts: U.S. players for the first time were asked to pay their airfare to the team's training camp in Albany, N.Y., to help defray estimated costs of $5,000 to $6,000 for the trip.
"If there's guys that have problems, we can help them out," said Coach Jeff Sauer, who won two NCAA men's titles at the University of Wisconsin and now coaches the U.S. Deaf team and Paralympic sled hockey team.
"It's a pretty expensive deal, and the fact that the last Olympics were canceled, we had quite a bit of money invested. We really haven't recouped all of that for this trip."
Congratulations to Trey on his first pro goal in MLRH.