Shelton’s Gintolis lead U.S. team to gold
Shelton’s Gintoli brothers have added more trophies to their collection after leading the United States ice hockey team to gold at the 2019 Winter Deaflympics.
Peter and Garrett Gintoli each scored as the U.S. team defeated Canada 7-3 to capture the gold medal on Sunday in Valtellina Valchiavenna, Italy. The U.S. team made the finals after topping rival Russia 7-3 — the first American victory over the Russians in some two decades in Deaflympic competition.
“It feels great,” said Peter Gintoli, the team captain, about the semifinal victory over Russia where he netted two consecutive goals within one minute in the second period.
“We knew going into the game that beating them would put us into the gold medal game, so we had a great amount of motivation going into the game,” added Peter Gintoli. “They always have a tough team, so getting the chance to beat them was pretty special.”
In the semifinal against Russia, after a scoreless first period, Peter Gintoli scored twice and his brother Garrett, the alternate captain, once as the U.S. built a 4-1 advantage entering the third period. In the end, Garrett Gintoli finished with a hat trick as the U.S. team reached the finals.
“It’s extremely exciting,” said Peter Gintoli. “I don’t know about Garrett, but I didn’t know we hadn’t beaten them in 20 years in Deaflympic competition. Funny how things like that happen. It’s always nice to be able to contribute and score, but it is a team game, and everyone contributes.”
Peter Gintoli said in 2015, the U.S. team lost to Russia in a controversial 6-5 game on a goal after the third-period buzzer.
“My first World Games, in 2009, we beat Russia twice actually, once in round robin and then again in the bronze medal game,” said Peter Gintoli. “Every two years, we play and if it is not the Deaflympics, it is the World Games. So technically, it’s been 10 years, but in terms of the Deaflympics itself, it has been 20 years. It feels really good.”
Garrett Gintoli finished with a tournament-high 14 points (nine goals, five assists), while his brother Peter placed seventh among all scorers with seven points (four goals, three assists) overall.
The Gintolis are two of 16 players who have previously competed internationally as members of U.S. teams that won a bronze medal at the 2015 Deaflympics held in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, and a gold medal at the 2017 World Championships in Amherst, N.Y.
“I think the best part, personally, is representing your country,” said Peter Gintoli. “There are so many countries involved and so much talent. The pride shines from everyone.”
Peter Gintoli is going into his fifth international competition. As captain of the team at the World Deaf Ice Hockey Championships in 2017, he led the team to the gold medal. This will be Garrett Gintoli’s fourth international competition. He was voted the Most Valuable Player at the World Deaf Ice Hockey Championships in 2017.
"I love hockey. I love competing. I love doing it with people I grew up playing with. Our team is unique because it is comprised of players that attend a week-long camp in Chicago that has been taking place for more than 45 years,” said Peter Gintoli.
Peter Gintoli said his family started attending the camp — American Hearing Impaired Hockey Association (AHIHA) — in 2003.
“The camp is the prime location for the selection of this team,” said Peter Gintoli, “but it’s more than just a camp. It’s a family. My best friend and I met at this camp. I was the best man at his wedding. We won a gold medal together in Buffalo 2017.
“To do it with teammates you’ve known since you were 11 years old is a special feeling,” added Peter Gintoli. “Seeing some of these young players come up and seeing them have similar relationships is what makes it all so special.”