Ashley Schintz plays for Team USA


Pictured (L-R)Tehya Daniels, Ashley Schintz, Annelise Daniels.

Jocelyn Splittstoser, Staff Writer

CIHS Sophomore Ashley Schintz started playing hockey at the age of 7. But little did many know, due to Ashley’s birth defect, Ashley was losing her hearing. She has lost 60% of her hearing in both ears, and her hearing has continued to get progressively worse as her hockey years have continued on, but nothing has stopped her. Ashley was immediately drawn to hockey because the stress reliever it was for her, and “nothing beats winning,” Ashley stated. Playing hockey while losing her hearing did not affect how she played, she had to just rely on her vision more than hearing.
This spring, Ashley tried out for the first US World Deaf team, the first ever USA National Girls Deaf Hockey Team which used to be the American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association and is made up of all hearing impaired or completely deaf hockey players. And she made it. Ashley represented the United States of America at the World Deaf Championships April 21-29 in Amherst, New York.
C-I Schools Innovation Coordinator and Integration Coach Kristin Daniels actually had two of her daughters try out for the team. Her older daughter, Tehya, made the team and played alongside Ashley in New York City. “Four years ago, both of my girls attended a hockey camp in Chicago for deaf and hard of hearing kids (my youngest daughter, Annelise, is deaf as well),” Mrs. Daniels said.
The American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association (AHIHA) is an organization that has put on this annual hockey camp for deaf and hard of hearing hockey players since 1973. Since the AHIHA girls program has grown significantly over the last few years, a US Women’s Deaf Ice Hockey Team was finally a possibility for the 2017 World Deaf Ice Hockey Championships.
“It was great fun to connect with AHIHA families at tryouts, as well as meet new friends who share commons bonds. It was during tryouts where I met Ashley and realized we spent a lot of our days walking the same halls!” Mrs. Daniels said. “What fun it was to make that connection. I soon came to realize what an awesome hockey player Ashley is. Such a powerful player who is both graceful and gritty at the same time. There is definitely a hockey player behind that smile!”
Although their team didn’t make it far, Ashley had the opportunity to represent the United States while playing the sport she loves most. Mark Solberg, C-I School Activity Director stated, “We are very proud of Ashley Schintz and the way that she represented the United States of America.”
“The experience at the World Deaf Ice Hockey Championships in
Amherst, NY was a thrill. The women’s team played Canada, yet couldn’t get a win,” Daniels said. “Although competition was tough, there was an underlying camaraderie among the players due to their shared experiences of being deaf or hard of hearing hockey players,” said Kristin Daniels.
Ashley’s goal is to play hockey after high school, and I believe that she is on her way.
If Ashley could say anything to the other
girls looking up to her it is, “It’s okay to be deaf or hearing impaired. Just because you are doesn’t mean you are any different than any other person. You are special, so embrace it and be proud of it. Also, chase your dreams. Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure leads to success. I believe in you, I believe in your dreams.”