Daniel LeCompte poses in this undated photo.  LeCompte was diagnosed with autism, Tourette and obsessive-compulsive disorder while attending Chattahoochee Elementary School.  He played for Georgia Fockyth's Georgia Hockey League team and during the 2020-21 school year, he was named the league's most attacking player in Division 'A'.  (David Roberts / Forsyth County News via AP)

Daniel LeCompte poses in this undated photo. LeCompte was diagnosed with autism, Tourette and obsessive-compulsive disorder while attending Chattahoochee Elementary School. He played for Georgia Fockyth’s Georgia Hockey League team and during the 2020-21 school year, he was named the league’s most attacking player in Division ‘A’. (David Roberts / Forsyth County News via AP)

AP

When Daniel LeCompte was a child, doctors told his mother he was likely unable to speak.

Last year, he was among the most dynamic goal scorers in the Student Hockey League in Georgia.

Now, after graduating from Forsyth Central earlier this summer, he hopes to start his hockey career as a member of the Boston Junior Bruins.

“I feel that sport changed me as an individual,” LeCompte said. “If it weren’t for hockey, I probably wouldn’t be so sure. My doctor, when (my mother) accepted me, was like, ‘Your child will need someone close to him all his life,’ because he will not be able to speak normally. ”

LeCompte was diagnosed with autism, Tourette and obsessive-compulsive disorder while attending Chattahoochee Elementary School.

Not long after, LeCompte’s mother, Stacie LeCompte, signed Daniel for the Miracle North Metro League to include him in the sport.

And when he was about 6 or 7 years old, Daniel attended his first Atlanta Thrashers game through the North Miracle Subway League.

“After that first game, I just said, ‘I want to be on the ice and try this stick game they’re playing,'” he said. “Then I just got it from there.”

Daniel started throwing a street hockey ball in the trash at the end of his path. He would throw shots from the chimney into the living room – everything to insert his blows.

Eventually, the loneliness of home practice was replaced by real games, live action in front of a noisy crowd at The Ice in Cumming.

Sometimes very upsetting for Daniel.

“Someone sprayed (an air horn) once here and he stopped what he was doing, lowered his belongings and held his head,” Stacie said. I was saying, ‘Oh, Lord. “And I said, ‘Hey, please don’t do this because he can’t handle that noise.’ “

When he was about 12 years old, as Daniel recalls, one of the opposing players squeezed him on the board and gave him a kick in the back of the head.

Stacie is a medical doctor and had seen enough.

“My mother and my brother were shouting, telling them, ‘Get away from my baby.’ It is not right. There were no phone calls. ‘It took me out of hockey for three or four years,’ Daniel said.

Daniel used that time to try other sports. He tried his hand at baseball, basketball and lacrosse, but Daniel always felt like a natural hockey player.

He said that when he is playing hockey, he feels like no one is judging him because of his disability, only his ice skills.

Daniel returned to sports in high school. He played for the Forsyth team of the Student Hockey League in Georgia, and during the 2020-21 school year, he was named the league’s most attacking player in Division ‘A’. Daniel scored 28 points – 14 goals, 14 assists – and scored two goals in six separate cases.

“I knew it was my last year,” he said. “In my middle and small years, I only had five, six or seven points.”

Daniel, meanwhile, found his time in the classroom challenging.

“When I see something misspelled or misspelled in a sentence or in a problem, I understand,” Daniel said. “I can not even make that problem. I can not even think, ‘A, B, C or D.’ I have to fix it myself in my mind. “

In addition to attending the course, Daniel faced harassment due to his disability. He said his Tourette would turn on and people would say, “What’s that noise,” then go back and look at him and tell him to shut up.

“I went to school the first two weeks, but then I had panic attacks and extremely bad anxiety,” Daniel said. “I would stand in the car and say, ‘Mom, I can’t go to class. I just can not do it. ‘”

This is one of the reasons why Daniel is planning to participate in the field of health and physical education at Georgia State University, to become a physical education coach or teacher, and to help teens like him.

Daniel realized that his time as a hockey player was over as soon as he finished high school, but he decided to contact some of the minor league coaches in the Northeast.

Finally, he heard from a coach with the Boston Junior Bruins asking if he would be interested in coming to Marlborough, Massachusetts, to see if he would be a good fit.

“That was the same day we found out he entered Georgia State University,” Stacie said. “It all came together in one and I was saying, ‘Oh, God. Now what are we going to do?'”

“I was crying,” Daniel said. “It was a lot.”

Daniel’s goal is to play in the National Hockey League, and playing minor league hockey would set him in the right direction.

The team plays a schedule of 56 games, allocating time for practice, strength training and study.

Stacie said he is also seeking $ 7,000 less and an additional $ 3,000 paid for eight months. She hopes a GoFundMe account can generate some revenue to help send Daniel to Massachusetts.

“This has always been his goal in life,” Stacie said. “That’s what he always wanted to do, is to be a hockey player. And I’m, ‘Well, you’ll have to choose something else. You do not know what’ s going to happen.”

Daniel is not sure what will happen, but he is sure of one thing.

“You just have to try,” Daniel said. “If you do not try, then you do not know 100 percent. You can be the best at it or the worst at it. As long as you try, you can set yourself a goal and go step by step. “

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