Updated: Friday, 09 Jul 2010, 9:18 AM EDT
Published : Friday, 09 Jul 2010, 9:08 AM EDT
NIAGARA FALLS, NY (WIVB) - While die hard Sabres fans may not know the name "Gregg Sutch" just yet, after learning more about him, it may be hard not to cheer the fifth round draft pick all the way to a roster spot with the blue and the gold.
Draft choice Gregg Sutch feels the game but he doesn't always hear it. Gregg is hearing impaired, and has been for nearly all of his life.
"I can hear the crowd. I can hear the game, skating, the crash and all that. The finer things, the whistle kind of thing, somebody yelling for a pass in the middle of a loud crowd. Trying to pick that out, that's the difficult part," explained Sutch.
Gregg wears hearing aids on the ice and he reads the lips of his coaches and teammates.
"What I've had to do often is understand the game. I realize there's going to be an off-sides here, an icing," he said.
In junior hockey, Gregg has been a physical player who likes to hit. On occasion, he's been caught hitting a bit late. But he does have a built-in excuse. He can always say, "I didn't hear the whistle."
Sutch recalled one such time, "I hit somebody, I didn't hear the whistle, but they gave me a roughing penalty. I told the ref I was hearing-impaired. He told me I can't do anything about that. A penalty's a penalty."
Gregg does hear those who doubt he can play in the NHL. His response is loud and clear, "I don't let my hearing impairment set a level for what I can achieve. I've gotten to this point so far, so why not go further."