TORONTO – As his favourite team and hockey idol played Game 7 on Monday night, five-year-old Deccan Gill was watching and maybe even picking up a thing or two to add to his own repertoire. Deccan, known has “Super Deccan” to his more than 3,000 Instagram followers, routinely posts videos of his impressive hockey trick shots, many using rubber balls in his Brampton, Ont. home.
“He could stickhandle the ball at 18 months and control the ball around the room,” Deccan’s father Manny Gill told CTV News.
Deccan has clips of him shooting balls into red party cups, into a child’s basketball net, knocking an action figure off a pile of pucks and even blindfolded. The videos have even caught the eye of his favourite player, Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander. The two recently spoke through a video call.
“Nylander is my favourite. He has two eights and I like that number,” Deccan said, referring to Nylander’s jersey number, 88.
Deccan’s parents worry his skills may one day deteriorate, however. At age three, Deccan was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), a rare and severe type of muscular dystrophy that primarily affects boys and can leave young children in a wheelchair as their muscles weaken.
“It was like a kick in the stomach,” Manny Gill said. “At that time he was playing hockey, doing everything and getting better.”
According to the Muscular Dystrophy Association, DMD affects about six children per 100,000 in Europe and North America.
To this day, Deccan is active around the house and outside playing street hockey, leading his parents to hope that maybe his condition isn’t as severe as many other children are facing. “On one hand you know the diagnosis, on the other you see how great he is at things,” said Deccan’s mother Reena Gill. “You’re like: ‘Wow, he’s amazing, maybe he’ll be on the milder side.'”
Given what they fear may be in store for their son, Deccan’s parents hope these trick shot videos provide some fond memories. “He can look back and say: ‘The first five years of my life, I was amazing,’” said Manny Gill.