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Kenston High School hockey goalie born without left hand excels on and off the ice

Nate Linsz is an inspiration to his family, coach and teammates.

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio — If you're ever looking for 17-year-old Nate Linsz, you'll probably find him at The Pond Ice Rink in Chagrin Falls, on the ice.

He's the goalie for the Kenston High School Bombers hockey team, and, he has a crucial job: Keeping his team motivated for success.

"I kind of see it as, kind of being an older brother, because I have two little brothers myself. So, kind of mentoring them and hoping to kind of guide them on the right path is a lot of what I do at home. So, it feels familiar to me," Nate said.

He was just eight years old when introduced to the game.

"I started taking lessons for skating when I was really young ... before I could even, like, remember," he told us.

Then, Nate took a shot at goalie. His mom, Heather Linsz, says, he was hooked.

"From the moment he went in that, he absolutely loved it," Heather told us.

Nate loved it, and, he's good! But with more than 450 saves this season alone, you might be surprised to learn: Nate's been blocking big shots with a prosthetic arm.

"We found out at our 20-week ultrasound and had all kinds of tests run," Heather said. "And, he just was born without his left hand."

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The challenges have tested him over the years, especially when mocked by old teammates.

"And (the old teammate) ended up moving lockers because he, and I quote, 'Didn't want to catch one-arm syndrome,' which is a really messed up thing to say or even think," Nate said.

Instead of giving up when the going gets tough, Nate keeps coming back for more.

"I think it's normal for a little kid to be like, 'Oh, like, don't press that button.' And, then they're gonna wanna press that button. So, for me, someone's saying, 'Oh, you can't play hockey, you can't do this, you can't do that. Well, now I want to do it now," Nate said.

He's actually done a lot of things in his young life. Most recently, taking up guitar a few years ago. He has help from a customized arm that helps him rip the heavy metal he loves.

"We'd listen to ACDC and Guns and Roses and Metallica on the way to hockey games ... I guess to get pumped up," Nate told us.

His rock idols, for sure, are inspiring. But not nearly as much as his 12-year-old brother, Fletcher, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma last year. His band, "7th Floor," is named after Fletcher's cancer ward. H

"He is really touched by it. I remember ... I think it was my parents that first brought it up with him," Nate said of Fletcher's reaction. "And I think they said he started tearing up, and when they told him about it, like, he was still in the hospital. So he was truly touched by it."

Beyond his talents on and off the ice, Nate's determination is what makes his loved ones proud.

"He's always given a hundred percent," said Nate's coach, Tom Moores. "He's someone that I can trust and he's taken on a role now of being a leader on our team."

At 17, he still takes his mother's breath away.

"He amazes me in so many different ways and I cannot express how proud we are of him. He is, he's quite a kid, for sure," Heather said.

Backed by his family, his coach, and his team, Nate's goals have no bounds.

"Just take it one step at a time, one foot in front of the other," Nate said. "I don't give up easily."

Next up for Nate? Plans to study aerospace engineering in college. Hey, Nate ... the sky's the limit.

Editor's Note: The following video is from a previous, unrelated report.


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