Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Goalie Loves to Play Hockey

These stories inspire us...

Times & Transcript Linda Hersey - Sports People
As published on page B1 on April 12, 2006

Goalie loves to play hockey

Linda Hersey

"He only began speaking and saying an actual word at maybe between five and six (years old)," says Sandra Gaudet about her autistic son Tyler.

In an absolutely remarkable story, Tyler Gaudet showed his interest in hockey by watching it on TV. He began to mimic the goalies' moves, pretending to catch the puck and so on.

"When he finally started speaking," says Sandra Gaudet, "one of the first things was me-him. Me-him. He pointed "me" right at the goalie on TV, and said there. He wanted to be there, so that's how we figured out he wanted to be a goalie. From there he spent the next couple of years asking for goalie gear as presents, and instead of (non-goalie equipment) presents he wanted money so he could buy his gear."

Tyler's hockey adventure began when his family tried to teach him to stand on skates. The first year didn't go so well, but the second year was a bit better. During the process though he gained in confidence, getting more words and some sentences which aided those trying to help him. The next step was an organized team.

Now with four good seasons behind him, three as a full-time goalie, Tyler is feeling pretty good about things. This year his house league team, the Moncton Purple Panthers, made it to the semifinals, won, and then lost by only one goal in the finals.

Hockey continues to be a great motivator for this amazing youngster who because of his size (5-foot-4), often gets mistaken for being much older. In school he's doing "OK" with a personalized education plan and a full-time teacher's aid. His classroom now has a sound system as well, which has been a huge benefit because he "has a lot of hearing loss, on one side especially." In addition to speech problems, he's had to endure no less than nine ear operations.

Tyler takes his hockey seriously, and knows the game rules by heart. If he is to have an outburst, it's because he knows a wrong call has been made.

During summers he attends goalie schools, prior to which, helped by his grandfather Eugene Gaudet, he does his training to get in shape. Tyler's father, Lyndon, a former goalie, is his goalie coach, and the two even shared the same gear for a year.

There are a variety of sports that Tyler enjoys, hockey however is number one, and his family are behind him one hundred percent.

"We're teaching him life skills now. We bought an ice cream shop a couple of years ago in the case of him not being able to work in the mainstream. That way if he makes it as a full-time professional goalie, great, and if he doesn't, well he's got something to fall back on as well. In the meantime last year he started his own little water and pop business there. He made a bit of money, and naturally it went back into goalie gear."

Linda Hersey is a freelance writer from Lower Coverdale. Her column appears Tuesday to Saturday.

1 comment:

Jim Dwyer said...

The CBC covered this wonderful young man and his family's story on last weekend's Hockey Day in Canada. Thanks for posting it on your site!

Jim "the Canadian spy" Dwyer

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