Stevens Point, WI On any given day at Red Panthers practice, no one is paying more attention than Pacelli sophomore Kendra Robinson. Kendra is 100% deaf. But with the help of hearing aids, and lip reading, she hears everything.
"It picks up sound from what's around me," Robinson said about her hearing aids. "But in loud environments I can't hear very well. Hard to hear refs whistle. So I look at him for icing and offsides, I have to watch them."
She can play, too. Really well. Kendra has scored a team-leading 16 goals, add in her 10 assists for a Red Panthers best 26 points.
"She's a hockey player who's deaf, not a deaf hockey player," head coach Rachael Graves said. "She eats, sleeps, lives and breathes it.
"She'svbery fast and has very good hands with her stick-handle," senior Hailey Ehr said. "She has a good shot. So I always try to work hard. I know she's working hard for me and I'm also trying to work hard for her.
"The way she played with passion and fire, that's something I can't teach a kid," Graves said.
Leadership is often bestowed upon a team's best player, and its a role she's growing in to.
"I'm not very vocal but I try to be a team leader by my actions and how hard I try," Robinson added.
Teammate Bryar Brooks commended her teaching. "If someone does something wrong on the ice she'll help them. She'll correct them. Same goes for others and helping her."
"Her hockey IQ is very high," Graves added.
During games, however, Graves says there is some pre-planned strategy to help Kendra on the ice.
"If I'm going to want something during the middle of her shift, I need to let her know before she gets out there."
Kendra's love for the game began when her brother started playing, and that piqued her interest.
"I asked parents why can't I play. Then, they said I could try it and dad coached me," Robinson said with a smile.
Graves said Kendra's parents have been great to work with and incredibly supportive of thier daughter. "They've released her to the game and team. You know, they trust her."
That kind of support can be heard loud and clear.