Recently, I posted on another Reddit section about my experiences in having a hearing loss and being a hockey player. Several people asked me to do an AMA, so I contacted Victoria and here we are.

I lost my hearing at 6 months due meningitis. Since about 1 years old, I've worn hearing aids and without my hearing aids I fall on the spectrum of being legally deaf.

Growing up I experienced the usual amount of bullying and exclusion one with a disability would have. That stuff really sucked, but it helped mold me. I started playing hockey when I was 12 years old and fell in love with the game.

A 19 I found out about the Canadian deaf hockey program. I have since, been able to play hockey for Team Western, Team BC and Team Canada. I have been able to travel across Canada and to Europe because of deaf hockey. My goals of playing hockey at a high level have been fulfilled.

Now that I am older I captain & organize the BC Rockies Deaf & Hard of Hearing hockey team.

I recently was a part of the Molsons Canadian #AnythingForHockey campaign. You can see me in the backgrounds of some of the videos and pictures:

My Proof:

Comments: 196 • Responses: 80  • Date: 

redwings199351 karma

First of all thanks so much for doing this! I am a huge hockey fan who has played my whole life. My question is how has your overall hockey career been like, what kind of challenges do you face on the ice and how have your teams adapted to your situation?

jean_underpants87 karma

My hockey career in my opinion has been awesome.

I'm 6'7" right now, growing up I was always the tallest player. That impacted my skating so much. For example, one summer my dad would drop me off at the local rink so I could play hockey. My schedule consisted of:

  • 1 Hour 16 & under drop in

  • 1 Hour of Stick and Puck

  • Lunch

  • 2 Hours of 19 & up drop in (my size allowed me to get in)

  • Gym

Then home. I had an absolute blast doing this. At the 19 and up drop in, there were several players who played pro overseas and I was able to keep up to them. When the minor hockey season would start up, I'd always without fail have a growth spurt, thus feeling awkward with the new height. Not to mention I didn't have self confidence around players my age who would make jokes about my hearing.

Being a part of the deaf hockey program has given me that feeling that I've accomplished something with hockey. I may not have been paid the big bucks, but I have a Deaflympic gold medal and I've been able to play across Canada and Europe.

One story I have that a lot of people have found interesting is that I took my oldest out to public skating and kept my hearing aids in. After pushing her around for a while, it dawned on me that the skates digging into the ice make noise. (This was after playing hockey for almost 15 years). All i could think of was, what would it have been like if I could have heard someone coming to hit me from behind(I missed 2 years from a hit from behind), or knowing who is nearby without looking.

PowTrain19 karma

This is an awesome thread, thanks so much for doing this! Why did you take your hearing aids out when you were playing hockey?

jean_underpants53 karma

Thank you :)

Hearing aids are not waterproof and they would malfunction after the slightest hint of perspiration under my helmet.

I've grown to really enjoy the silence. When I mentioned earlier about finally hearing ice skates after 15 years, I found the noise to be aggravating after a while.

IncognitoPete22 karma

That's amazing.

I've always found the noise skates make on ice to be perfect. I feel like the sound reflects the movements and actions of staking wonderfully.

jean_underpants17 karma

I feel like they could be something amazing, but it just wears me down after a while. Dunno why.

LimpingWish7 karma

I know a number of deaf people who said they were annoyed by sounds they weren't used to hearing. Especially when he first got them, my dad would often take his hearing aids out when he came home from work. He got so tired of background noises that hearing people take for granted or just tune out. I think it is almost overstimulating, especially since it's basically going from silence to tons of different noises with no adjustment period.

jean_underpants7 karma

I definitely did feel overstimulated at the sound.

MaxTitration165 karma

Plays hockey for over a decade as a deaf man and loves it.

Skates once with hearing aids and the sounds of skates on ice makes him quit. Lol

Very cool stories. I've played my whole life and never thought about what it would be like to play as a deaf man. I had a kid on my team when I was much younger that wore hearing aids, but it never occurred to me how much things might be different for him.

jean_underpants6 karma

Someone mentioned to me that the sound on the ice was cathartic for him. The silence is that for me.

toasterinBflat4 karma

Anyone else love the idea of Deaflympics? Why aren't they televised!

jean_underpants5 karma

That would be awesome. Right now I think the deaf program is still growing, raising awareness to becoming a household name.

The most recent Deaflympics in Russia last month, each player had to raise $2,000 of their own money to cover costs associated with the trip. Same thing when I played too.

The BC hockey program is supported by grants through BC Deaf Sports Federation. When we travelled to Toronto last year with team BC for the Canadian Deaf Ice Hockey Championships each player had to pay a portion out of pocket. This has given us some struggles as some players have not been able to attend tournaments because of financial situations and that's something that I'm trying hard to improve.

YourFavBarPunk1 karma

That must have been a hell of a hit. Sorry to hear that. you seem to have recovered OK though. :)

jean_underpants3 karma

I was on a breakaway and I slowed down when right in front of the goalie for the deke, at that point I got hit and went face first into the goalies pads. The impact pushed my head back and I felt some kind of nerve stimulation shooting down my left arm. Basically when I hit, my head went back, my shoulders and arms went up, not a comfy feeling.

I laid on the ice for a few moments to just because I wasn't sure if I'd done anything serious. Once I felt that I could move, I slowly got up. The worst part was laying there face down, not being able to hear anyone ask me if I'm ok, or if they were telling me to man up and get off the ice.

When I got to the bench I had a bunch of nerve pain in my shoulder and my shoulder / neck hurt like hell. I finished the game like a true Canadian. :p

When I got home, my wife(then gf) told me to go to the hospital, I told her I'd be fine. I could walk, what's the need for the hospital. The next morning I woke up and I couldn't move my arm or body without some intense pain. That persisted for a few days, and got better. I just took it as a sprained shoulder issue. (Thinking back now, with how painful it was, I really should have seen someone).

After a while, things were going normally, it was the summer so I wasn't playing any hockey with the exception of pick up here and there. One day, I went to throw out the trash and I couldn't lift the trash bag with my left side. My right side worked fine.

So, I finally went to the doctor and he noticed that my shoulder blade muscles had atrophied. He ordered some tests to find out what happened. I had to do a CAT scan, Ultrasound, xray and some other stuff that I can't remember.

In the end, they determined that I had a slipped disc in my neck, which pinched a nerve that ran down the left shoulder and atrophied the muscles. I also did something to the rotator cuff, but since I hadn't originally gotten it checked out, it got better (ish) on it's own.

So during the 2 years, I had to take those tests, take physio and all to get the muscle built back up, and the disc back into place.

Doctors advised me not to play hockey for those two years. It kind of sucked because I missed a deaf hockey championship in Whitby and I missed playing in a charity game I organized againsts the Vancouver Canucks alumni.

Moral of the story, don't get hit from behind, if you do, get checked out.

fadetoblack100445 karma

As a guy with a hearing loss who played hockey, I've had lots of people come after me when I'd take a shot or make a hit after the whistle, since I didn't hear it. Do you have this problem too, and if so, any funny stories?

jean_underpants87 karma

I've been hit after the whistle by other players who "pretend" they didn't hear the whistle.

In deaf games, sometimes a player will carry the puck up the ice with their head down. Often players from both teams will raise their hands and move out of the way. While we are opponents on the ice, and play the body hard against each other during the game, there is almost an unwritten rule that when the whistle goes, you don't take advantage of your peer.

One of my funniest stories... I like to play an aggressive game, so I remember one game I was battling in the corner with another player. I forget what happened, but I'm sure we both were giving it to each other.

The whistle went and the ref called a penalty. I was livid as I didn't feel like I did anything to deserve it. I was yelling at the ref up the ice, put one foot over the boards of the penalty box, then realized that the ref was calling the other player. Boy, my face was red and to add insult to injury, I didn't quite get my leg all the way over the boards, and slid down the boards onto my back. I was pretty humble the rest of the game.

monstergerbil8 karma

Did either of you guys ever play in southern California? I played against a team with a deaf player, the refs let us know before hand that he might keep going after the whistle.

jean_underpants9 karma

My dad did some scouting with the Fresno Falcons a long time ago, but that's about the extent of my California travels.

SuperAmadeus16 karma

How did you overcome the communication difficulties growing up? And how do you communicate with players during a game? Do you think being deaf has molded you into a better person than if you weren't?

jean_underpants28 karma

In difficult hearing situations (background noise, etc) I might only hear part of what someone is saying. I combine what I heard, with what I lip-read to attempt to formulate what someone is saying.

My first ever job, on day one, we went for lunch to welcome me to the team. One of the other programmers asked me a question and I responded saying "Yes", right away I could visibly notice them cringe. I had misunderstood the question and I was too anxious to fix it. So we had a very silent elevator ride down.

Hockey is a very silent game for me. It's almost peaceful. In some ways hockey is like meditation for me.

Communication with other players is hard. My teammates give me physical queues if they want me to be somewhere. If they have to say something, they will come up to me and make sure I'm lip reading, I can hear a little in my right ear if I cup the ear, so sometimes I'll lean in and cup my ear.

I do admit, I'm lucky in my height as it allows me to see more of the ice and who is open.

I think being deaf has molded me into being who I am for sure. Growing up I was this anxious kid who was afraid to talk to other people, and since being involved in the deaf hockey it has allowed me to accept my disability and me for who I am. Nowadays, I have no problem telling people up front, "Hey, I'm deaf, can you speak up", back in they day I would almost avoid people, just so I didn't have to talk to them.

DevastatorIIC3 karma

I had misunderstood the question

What was it?

jean_underpants10 karma

I actually don't remember. I just remember the cringe.

Style_train_1411 karma

I'd like to start by saying congratulations on achieving your goals!

As a hockey player, I understand that communication is a huge part of the game, so how does a 'Deaf & Hard of Hearing' hockey team make up for that?

jean_underpants17 karma

One of the things that I've tried very hard to do with the BC Rockies, is provide interpreters for the coaches. Our coaches are understanding and patient towards the players, they dedicate their time to ensuring that each player no matter the skill level has the ability to learn and improve.

Some of the guys are so dedicated to bettering themselves, one of our players was being taught how to start skating from a stopped position and he would go back and forth so hard, without stopping that his face was turning red. We had to pull him back and tell him to take a break. His dedication inspired me, because these guys love the game.

Style_train_143 karma

Thank you for taking time to respond, and good luck in the future! I'm recovering from a broken arm, so I'll have to remember this, it'll keep me determined when I try to get back into the game.

jean_underpants8 karma

Thank you! Good luck with your arm. I had to miss about 2 years of hockey due to some neck issues after being hit from behind, it's really hard to wait.

howtohockeydotcom7 karma

What are practices like compared to a practice with players that can hear? What about on the bench? Is the coach very active?

jean_underpants8 karma

For me, practices with a hearing team/coach I would try and be right in front of the coaches board. Often the coach would turn his back to the players and talk, I would just watch the board and remember where each player had to go. Same thing with the deaf program.

When I lined up for a drill, I was never the first one in line. If the players in front of me screwed up the drill, I'd screw up the exact same way. Now, with the deaf program every player would screw up the same way during the whole drill.

With the coaches for the Team BC program I have worked with them to ensure they understand the needs of the players and focus on communication. A lot of deaf & hard of hearing players in hearing teams lose out due to the communication issues. With Team BC many of us actually fight to be the first in line.

For anyone coaching or working with a deaf or hard of hearing person, please make sure they can see your face. They can lip-read, determine emotional queues from the face and understand what you are saying so much better.

love_the_heat7 karma

Thank you for doing this. I did not know about the Canadian deaf hockey program. What kind of adjustments do they do to the game to accommodate everyone? Am I correct that although legally deaf, you can still hear the buzzer to some capacity?

jean_underpants15 karma

There are varying levels of deafness, some are completely deaf and some can hear a bit like me.

To compensate for the hearing, strobe lights would be placed around the arena and they would go off when the whistle went. I also mentioned before about players raising their hands when they recognize a player hasn't stopped.

There are also interpreters on the bench should the situation arise.

Bluearmy696 karma

What level did you play at in minor hockey (AAA/AA/A)? And do you feel like your hearing was one of the sole reasons why you didn't play at a higher level?

jean_underpants6 karma

I should also mention that being a tall player I played a little bit knock-kneed until I was about 18/19 (stopped growing then).

Also, if you watch some tall skaters, it looks like they aren't skating fast because their stride is so long. Maybe I didn't look fast enough?

Bluearmy695 karma

Yea I feel Ya. I was 6 4 on my midget AAA team when I was 16. It's definitely a weird feeling. The constant "I'm bigger than you" penalties. Hated those. Head contacts if I ever laid the body. If I hit a kid hard and clean the refs would always call a penalty if he was smaller than me.

Thanks for responding though! Your story is really interesting. I can't imagine how difficult it must be playing with no hearing in one of the most verbal sports.

jean_underpants3 karma

It's called "Pronger Physics".

That's funny, I never thought hockey to be too verbal. Was always a cerebral and aggressive game.

The size also helped with the hearing loss, as there have been many, many times when players have hit me, when I wasn't looking and they bounced right off.

jean_underpants5 karma

The highest minor hockey I played was Juvenile AAA.

Prior to Juvenile I was always on house teams. I actually cannot say without certainty that my hearing held me back from making some teams. I know that sometimes I felt like I could have / should have made a team, but for whatever reason I didn't make it.

I did go to a junior A camp one time, scored 2 or 3 goals that I can recall, last shift another player asked to fight me and I obliged. After I threw the first punch I forgot to keep punching. I had to get stitches after that fight.

One summer, I was training and a coach of a local junior B team told me to come to his camp as he felt I could make the team. During our last ice time, I passed the puck up the ice and it went off a stick and smashed him in the forehead, knocking him out. Didn't think I'd make the team then, also if I made the team I'd likely get put into the role of enforcer and that wasn't appealing to me. I'd already had 2 bad concussions and I didn't need to make my life worse.

Just before playing with the Canadian Deaf team, I got asked about trying out with a minor pro team in Dallas, but I decided that I'd rather focus on school and deaf hockey.

nobodytrickedme6 karma

Are you currently at the Disabled Hockey festival going on in Buffalo, New York USA?

jean_underpants6 karma

I'm not, I had no idea about it. I'll check it out. Thanks!

alkizmo5 karma

Would being a goaly make the disability less of an issue? I mean, do the goalies on the deaf hockey program seem to also have to deal with the disability while on the ice?

jean_underpants5 karma

When watching NHL games, I see the goalie as a pivotal person when it comes to supporting the defensemen. Often you'll see goalies providing verbal queues as to where the opponents are and more.

In deaf hockey, the goalies might point, but that's about the extent of communication that works.

I think a goalie might have less pressures than a player, but think about everything you do in hockey that's verbal and take that away.

jamesno265 karma

Hello, I'm a fellow deaf person with a CI here! Now here's the question: Has being deaf given you a you any advantages or disadvantages over hearing hockey players?

jean_underpants18 karma

Hi! I think I have an advantage on not hearing other players trash talk. I don't react to verbal abuse. However, the disadvantage is that if a player is trying to talk to me nicely, I don't know the difference.

I've told players to fuck off, when they've congratulated me for something. It's a little embarrassing when you realize later.

emanuelklein5 karma

How long did it take before you realised farts make sounds?

jean_underpants16 karma

Wait what?!?!

I think it was something I was aware of pretty early. I was never that weird kid who farted in public, I was that kid with those weird things in his ears.

jamesno261 karma

Just so you know, there was a big reddit thread a few days ago on deaf people and fart.

jean_underpants10 karma

Yes, I posted there and people asked me to do the AMA here.

BeatTheCl0ck1 karma

As a kid I seemed to have a fascination for colours so I wore coloured earmolds such as bright green or red. That didn't help the situation.

jean_underpants1 karma

You should be happy that you found something enjoyable with them. Kid's will be assholes regardless. :P

wittchimp4 karma

Hi congrats on all your accomplishments. Have you ever had hearing temamate or coach ever go that extra step to learn sign language to communicate one on one with you? Good luck with your career.

jean_underpants5 karma

I have a friend who I played hockey with through my minor hockey and adult hockey teams. He always made sure I could hear him, and never made the shitty deaf jokes that made me feel really small.

I actually didn't start learning sign until I was 21. I'm still learning to this day.

PowTrain4 karma

What is the funniest hockey related thing that has happened to you or a teammate due to lack of hearing?:)

jean_underpants9 karma

I mentioned earlier about thinking I had a penalty and finding out the ref called the other player, then falling out of the penalty box when leaving.

Another time when I was really young, I was late for practice and I couldn't hear my dad yelling after me to take off the skate guards. I fell down so fast and hard that morning.

iamkokonutz4 karma

Are you seriously going to blame your hearing on why you didn't pass me the puck? I was open man.

jean_underpants8 karma

I told you that if you tried to hit me into the snowbank one more time that you wouldn't get any passes from me!!

iamkokonutz2 karma

It was /u/howtohockeydotcom's idea to hit you. I just thought he needed help.

jean_underpants3 karma

Yeah I suppose if you were bigger like Sean, you could have done more damage. (

buttocks_fairy4 karma


jean_underpants13 karma

Cheering in sign language is hand waving. (think jazz hands)

I think it would be awesome to be on the ice and hear a crowd's intensity, but at the same time it might also add more pressure anxiety.

theREKTIFIER3 karma

When you play deaf hockey, do you (or your team members) ever communicate with sign language when on the ice? I'd imagine that would be difficult while skating and holding a stick, but I wouldn't know.

jean_underpants5 karma

When the play has stopped sometimes you'll see a player take off their gloves to do a quick sign. During play, it's more about being open and in position.

The hardest players to play with are the ones who play with their head down and not in position, hearing and non-hearing. There are several times, players have been open, but their teammate doesn't see them, due to carrying the puck with their head down.

AdilB1013 karma

In your definition, what is hockey?

jean_underpants7 karma

Hockey to me is a game of position and control. I will do everything in my power to be in my opponent's space, whether in front of the net, checking them or scoring on them. Defensively it is my job to prevent them from being in my teams space and in control.

howtohockeydotcom2 karma

Well said! I'm adding that to my coaches journal

jean_underpants11 karma

He drives goalies wild with his antics, wait till you find out what he does!!

HandySigns3 karma


jean_underpants3 karma

ASL is pretty universal. So anyone who can see the interpreter can understand what a coach is saying.

Also, with advancements in technology, more and more players are wearing hearing aids or coachlear implants and more (

So the players that come in having hearing aids, some have not been exposed to sign language. So they have trouble hearing the coach, and they can't understand the interpreter so their communication is cut short again.

That is why it is important for the coaches to know and understand the disabilities of their players if they truly want to teach the game.

skine092 karma

The circle huddle in American Football was first used at Gallaudet University (a college for the deaf) in Washington DC to stop opposing players from seeing what they signed. I think they also came up with using drums for coaches to communicate plays to the athletes when they were on the field.

Edit: The drums were for the snap count. They've given up both, apparently.

jean_underpants1 karma

That's actually really cool. I had no idea about that. Thank you for sharing. :)

Darthlizard3 karma

Have you played teams who sign different languages?

If so, what was that experience like in regards to their communication on the ice being understood by you and vice versa?

jean_underpants9 karma

When playing in the Deaflympics, we bumped into some players from the German team and had a rudimentary conversation.

Same with the Russians, they offered us some vodka and sliced apples.

It was mostly, hi, how are you, good job, etc. Pretty superficial. Who wants to talk to the enemy?

Darthlizard7 karma

I do when the enemy give me vodka.

Great English by the way. I am studying ASL and doubt I will have the grammar down as well as you have your English.

jean_underpants11 karma

Thank you, I spent a lot of time with speech therapy growing up, and working hard to ensure I am smrt.. I mean smart.

Echo8me2 karma

That's perhaps the most stereotypically Russian thing they could have done. Hahaha. I gotta ask though, is there a major difference between sing language conventions? I mean, like you said, rudimentary conversation, but are there real language barriers?

jean_underpants2 karma

I sadly am not the best person to ask that. I'm still learning sign language. I got the impression that some signs were the same but those players might also know ASL.

LTVOLT3 karma

in this deaf hockey program do they just flash/dim the lights for whistles? or how does that work

jean_underpants4 karma

In the Deaflympics & CAnadian Deaf Ice Hockey Championships they have strobe lights that line the boards.

When I play in regular leagues I rely on what the other players are doing and the little amount of hearing I have. I mentioned earlier that the acoustics of an arena are great for amplifying the whistle.

nnylnnyl3 karma

Congrats on surviving meningitis. That's a great feat in itself?

jean_underpants3 karma

Thank you. I never really thought about it as a great feat. I was so young and it was so long ago, that I have no recollection of it. I'll have to think about it a bit differently now.

fivewaysforward3 karma

My mom once commented on a photo of us where she asked "Is that guy famous?" and we both has to answer no. Now that you're a commercial superstar, can I tell her yes?

jean_underpants3 karma

Yes! Tell your mom I said what's up? You... not so much.

MrWafflePuffs2 karma

If you weren't bullied and had perfect hearing, how do you think your life would change?

jean_underpants3 karma

I think my level of empathy towards others would be lower.

I also wonder if I would work as hard as I do in my career and hockey.

The1Honkey2 karma

How long have the Pens been your favorite NHL team? And on a scale of 1-10 how much do you hate the Flyers?

Lol, but seriously, I take it from the "battling in the boards" comment that you're a forward, but which position specifically? And what is your style of play? And as a goalie why should I be wary of you on the ice?

jean_underpants3 karma

The pens were my first favorite team way back in the day.

I usually play LW, sometimes C.

My style of play is power forward, I like to use my size to get to the net and score pretty goals. I play an in your face game and if a defensemen tries to take liberties with extra cross checks or slew foots for example, I'm not above sending a message back.

As for goalies, I have a lot of respect for goalies. However, the ones that decide to get involved with slashes and trips are fair game to me. If I'm pushed in front of a goalie who has been jerk-ish, I'm happy to fall on top of them.

If any of you are goalies, and you try and trip the player going behind the net. Fucking stop. That play is dangerous if the player falls head-first into the boards and breaks their neck.

That being said, I'm not above congratulating the other players or goalies on a good save / play. In our playoff game a few weeks back I was cross checked in the back where it's unprotected, the player that did it is the penalty minute leader, the next shift I went and hit a player that I thought was the cheap d-man. He came up to me after and asked why I did that, I swore at him and told him to stop cross checking me in the back. After the next shift I realized I had the wrong player, and I apologized to him. He understood and all was well.

I'm not above forgiving and forgetting if a player get's too excited and then realizes he's being a jerk. In fact, I was in a bench clearing brawl one time and my opponent was my teammate 1 week later, and we became friends after that. Hockey is great for leaving the aggression and emotion on the ice.

Chip892 karma

So you don't have to listen to that annoying furnace next to your room while trying to sleep? I sometimes wonder what not having to hear stuff like that would be like.

jean_underpants3 karma

My wife hates it sometimes. I'm fast asleep within 2-3 minutes of closing my eyes.

I take transit to work and I can just turn off my hearing aids and zone out.

One of the best is this Bluetooth system I have where broadcast music directly to my hearing aids.

Oh and there is a special setting for phones that blocks out all background noise.

I suppose those are some more perks. :)

BeatTheCl0ck2 karma

I've got one of those. I love it that I can listen to music playing at any volume I wish nearly anywhere in the house (max 2 rooms away from the device) and I don't have to worry about people yelling at me to turn the damn thing down.

jean_underpants1 karma

The worst is when people talk to you when the music is playing and you don't hear them. hahah

thenyrfan2 karma

Hey Shawn, still visit TBN? :P

jean_underpants2 karma

Haven't been in a long time. You?

thenyrfan2 karma

Every now and then I browse. But unfortunately it's a ghost town there. Only the sim league forums are active.

jean_underpants2 karma

Good to see you again though. :wave:

Manly-man2 karma

Was Jim Kyte an influence/inspiration to you?

jean_underpants3 karma

Jim's career winded down when hockey started taking off for me.

I've heard from people that have met him, that he is a very intelligent person. One day I'm sure I'll cross paths.

My hockey hero has always been Trevor Linden. I'm also a huge fan of anyone who plays a hard and honest game.

GoldenGuy22 karma

What skates do you use?

jean_underpants2 karma

Bauer Vapor APX Pro, size 11

Gil_V1 karma

Big boy.

jean_underpants3 karma

Don van Massenhoven is 6'5", you can see me standing on his left:

GoldenGuy21 karma

Bauer Vapor APX Pro

Wow, just wow. Then there's me who has Vapor X60's.

jean_underpants1 karma

APX Pro's are sooo worth it.

GoldenGuy21 karma

If only I had the budget.

jean_underpants1 karma

I just saw them on sale for $400. I saved up for mine originally, if I had $400 right now I'd get a new pair.

EskimoNorth2 karma

Ever gotten a Gordie Howe hat trick?

jean_underpants5 karma

The Jr A tryout I mentioned earlier, I got 2 goals and a fight. Not an actual gordie, but close.

Xvash21 karma

How did you feel about your time as a member of the Gem City Aviators?

jean_underpants1 karma

LOL, best team to never win the cup.

jeffrey2ks1 karma

Do you think your other senses have improved, like hand and eye coordination? This could be an advantage.

jean_underpants1 karma

I have pretty good peripheral vision. Maybe I gained that?

ScrotumOfJesus1 karma

I've scanned the AMA and haven't found it yet, but are you a forward or a defenseman?

jean_underpants3 karma

Forward. I've been put on D by coaches who think that my size belongs on D. I love forward too much though.

Joal05031 karma

Ever consider a cochlear implant?

jean_underpants3 karma

No, my hearing aids work perfectly fine. :)

rugbyguy171 karma

do you ever chirp players on the other team using ASL?

jean_underpants1 karma

One player on my team flipped the bird. Refs saw and kicked him out. That was the end of that.

HTCGM1 karma

What position do you play? You're tall and you said you have an aggressive style so I assume D.

Also, have you ever had a moment when you ended up meeting someone on the opposing team or in the crowd who happened to know ASL outside of any interpreter in a primarily hearing environment?

jean_underpants2 karma

Nope, power forward. :)

Never met anyone who knew ASL in the scenario you mentioned. I'd love to stumble across another player who is hard of hearing so that I can recruit them to the BC Rockies.

HornDogBrah1 karma

where can i watch you play ? is it on tv or do you have a youtube channel i can check out ?

jean_underpants1 karma

There was a Deaflympics that ended last week. You can see some of the clips here:

This was recorded a few years ago at a Canadian Deaf Games in edmonton, play it with sound and notice how quiet everything is.

This is a commercial we made a few years back:

Here are some pictures from a charity game last year:

sparkos99991 karma

My dad is partially deaf and tells me about the 'loop' technology that allows him to hear. Do you have that technology in a hockey game?

jean_underpants2 karma

I actually hadn't heard about this technology. That's pretty cool. Going to research more about it.

bigfootlive891 karma

How has being a nevernude impacted the way you play? Do your teammates ever hassle you about it?

jean_underpants1 karma

I got that reference.

The name actually came from a reddit thread a long time ago encouraging lurkers to sign up. I had just received a pair of boxers that were dyed to look like jeans. Figured that would be a handy name.

Marthinwurer1 karma

I read "deaf" and "hockey player" and immediately thought of RIT. Did you ever think of attending?

jean_underpants1 karma

Up until I was 20/21 I was fighting with myself in trying to be a hearing person. Being a part of the deaf programs allowed me to accept myself as having a disability. By then I was already in college locally.

rocky3legs1 karma

Do you use an interpreter, and if so, what is the biggest complaint you've had about one?

jean_underpants2 karma

I don't actually. Every interpreter I've worked with has been professional and up front about their duty and role.

They take it very seriously that they are to remain impartial in the conversation. I'm sure some of them have to interpret some pretty uncomfortable conversations.

Slipdickgreg1 karma

I doubt you will see but I'm trying anyway. I didn't see this answer if asked. How were you alerted to a whistle blow? In high school I played soccer and basketball and the New York School for the Deaf was in our league. They used flashing lights placed around where they could be seen that were set off with the whistle.

jean_underpants2 karma

In deaf tournaments we have strobe lights that go off.

In regular leagues I rely on body language of other players. Also the hockey rinks have fantastic acoustics and the whistle is loud enough for me to just hear it.

Why_Zen_heimer1 karma


jean_underpants2 karma

I... I.. don't know what you are talking about?

Why_Zen_heimer1 karma


jean_underpants5 karma

I was taught at an early age by my dad and coaches not to do that. So I've never done that and told me teammates to never do that too.

I blame the deafness for never having heard of that term until now.:p

With the BC program we teach the players to keep their stick on the ice and pass blade to blade. Good ole' hockey I suppose.

ehkayfortyseven1 karma

Favorite NHL team?

jean_underpants1 karma

Vancouver Canucks obviously. I also enjoy cheering for any team that has a former Vancouver Giant player, unless they are playing the Canucks.

BrutusHFX1 karma

You cheer for the Bruins?

jean_underpants1 karma

The Bruins were my 2nd favorite team when Lucic broke into the league. When they won the cup, not so much.

But I still enjoy some of the players on their team like Lucic & Chara, but I've grown to detest some of their other players like Marchand.

Leftwithnocookies1 karma

Hey i read your dad scouted in fresno, ever make it down there to watch some games?

Also what was your favorite place to travel to and play at?

jean_underpants1 karma

I didn't get to see a Fresno game. Would have loved to.

I really enjoyed Sundsvall, Sweden. Walking around the town that had several historic buildings, but we're all renovated on the inside was amazing.

WeAreAllYellow1 karma

Hi! Thanks for doing this AMA!

What's the best place you've traveled to? Favorite country or city?

jean_underpants2 karma

Each city in Canada has it's own special memories, but being in Sundsvall, Sweden was amazing.

We stayed in a resort a the top of a mountain and took a bus down for games and practices. Being from BC, I don't see a lot of snow, but to wind down the mountain through the snow that was piled taller than me was something special. Oh and winning a gold medal too. :p

WeAreAllYellow1 karma

Oh man, I am so jealous of you! That sounds awesome :)

jean_underpants1 karma

Found an awesome picture of the resort and the town:

29holden1 karma

Are there any effects, positive or negitive, of playing hockey while deaf? Sorry if this is inaproprite.

jean_underpants1 karma

Not inappropriate at all.


  • Not hearing other players, coaches, referees, fans, sound of skates on ice.

  • Being hit by another player and not hearing it coming.


  • Ability to travel with the BC and Canadian program.

  • Play for my Province and Country.

  • Game feels peaceful at times, easier to focus.

AdolfHitlerAMA1 karma


jean_underpants7 karma

By watching the play, and oddly enough the echo of the rink amplifies the whistle just enough that I can actually hear some of it.

Vexor_Navy_Issue1 karma

How did you hear about this AMA?

royohz0 karma

Do you feel left out because you can't hear the sound in a gif?

royohz2 karma

Best response I could've hoped for. On a more serious note, do you have to turn your head all the time to check for signals from the ref?

jean_underpants3 karma

I absolutely hate it when I can't tell if a play is icing or not and I look back to see the refs don't have their hand up. (too lazy)

A few times I've been called for a penalty and gone to the player bench.

A few weeks back, a ref came up to me and said something about the play to me. After the game I told him I had no idea what he said and it blew his mind that I was deaf. He'd reffed in the league several years and had no idea.

slimtotheshady0 karma

Do you know what the fox says?

jean_underpants2 karma

I have a family and that song was played and quoted a lot... ugh..

DialUpHero-3 karma

If you are deaf then how are you reading this?

Gil_V0 karma

I saw what you did there.

jean_underpants8 karma

I heard what he did there.

DialUpHero1 karma

Apparently others didn't :(

jean_underpants3 karma

I saw what you did there.