By Erin O'Connor
AGAWAM - James Siciliano was awarded a Certificate of Recognition by Mayor Richard A. Cohen on May 2 on behalf of the citizens of Agawam commending him for his distinguished accomplishments on the 2007 USA Deaflympics Ice Hockey Team that took the gold medal.
"It was a great honor to win the medal," Siciliano said. "I look at it everyday."
The Deaflympics features the world's top hearing impaired athletes.
Cohen, a long time hockey fan of Siciliano, admitted he has coached but never possessed the skill of Siciliano.
"They can't play with any external hearing device," Ron Lodi, a neighbor of Siciliano's, said. "The only way they can keep track of the stoppage play is from the light on the board and they communicate with lip reading and sign language."
"I have been playing hockey since I was seven years-old," Siciliano said.
Siciliano of Longmeadow has been living in Agawam for the last few years and currently plays on a local men's hockey team three nights per week.
Siciliano was a youth hockey coach at the American Hearing Impaired Hockey School in Chicago and has been a member of the Deaflympics Ice Hockey Team since 1991. He has traveled to Canada, Finland, Switzerland, Sweden and Salt Lake City for games. He has assisted his team in winning five medals; two gold, two silver and one bronze.
Currently retired, Siciliano plans to pursue a career in coaching the Deaflympics for the 2011 season.