By Dennis Leary
On the best of days, it’s enough of a challenge for a hockey coach to get his team to listen to him.
Ryerson hockey coach Louie Carnevale faced a heightened task when he coached Canada’s national deaf team to a gold medal in the 14th World Winter Games for the Deaf held in Switzerland in March.
The communication barrier was a large obstacle to work around. When he accepted the job to coach the team over the winter, Carnevale had never been exposed to hearing-impaired athletes. He was one of four people who weren’t deaf out of a group of 30 involved with the team. Carnevale had to coach through a sign language interpreter.
“The process of communicating at first was very slow but as time went on and we became more accustomed with each other it got much faster,” Carnevale said.
On top of the honour of representing Canada on the world stage, Carnevale said the experience tested his abilities as a coach.
“It was a real challenge right across the board because I had to use different ways to motivate,” he said. “It was a real learning experience on how to bring a team together.”
Carnevale has an obvious passion for hockey as it surrounded him most of his life.
As a teenager, he played junior hockey for the Streetsville Derbies, which led to a scholarship that let him play in the Ivy League with Cornell University.
After graduating from Cornell with a bachelor’s of commerce, with a minor in communications, Carnevale went on to play division one professional hockey in Italy.
Carnevale started coaching about 14 years ago. He spent his first seven years coaching junior hockey in Streetsville and Brampton. Carnevale then joined Ryerson for the 1992-1993 season as an assistant coach he took over the head coach job the next year.
Carnevale had to be on his toes away from the ice as well.
The chartered financial planner runs his own successful insurance and investment brokerage company, Northern Financial. He is also the proud father of three daughters aged a year-and-a-half, five and 11.
“If I didn’t work on my own it would be very tough to have the time for hockey and my family, but running my own business gives me a chance to do all three,” Carnevale said.