Warrior recounts winning state hockey championship

Cade Saeugling stood with goalie Dawson Sturch and looked down to the other side of the ice. The crowd sat in silence and anticipation of what was about to unfold in front of their very eyes.

It was like in the plot line to a storied novel or movie. Kurt Reidy, our fallen teammate of last season, spirit resided in Cade’s stick. He picked up the puck with speed and strode his way down the center of the ice. He drifted lazily to the left side of the ice and picked his spot. Standing from the bench I watched as the puck lifted past his glove and flashed in the netting behind it. The bench, along with the fans, screamed and shouted louder than I thought was humanly possible. Glasses shook and ears rang as I watched Cade jump five feet from the ice on top of us on the bench.

I hadn’t believed what had just happened, I looked into the eyes of fellow bench mate Nathan Jeys, and we both had pure joy in our eyes and lining our faces. I strutted down the bench trying to help keep up the intensity on the bench. The next minute fell off the clock. Then the last seconds ticked off. As each second fell off, I recounted all the pain, suffering and joy I faced with my brothers.

The horn sounded and I exploded from off the bench, my gloves and helmet flying from my body. I indulged in the great pileup of my teammates at the far end of the ice. Tears of joy and shouts filled with emotion poured from every one of our faces. I engaged in long and joyful hugs with every one of my teammates.

I hadn’t felt more connected to a group more than I had at that moment. The next minutes were a blur of emotion; the trophy was handed out along with the MVP. Someone’s blood ended up on my jersey, along with the sweat and tears that streamed from my teammates. There were so many pictures that I don’t remember posing for, all due to the blinding of adrenaline and emotion.

After I left the ice, the mass of sweaty men gathered in the locker, the trophy the following suit. The brown wood wobbled after each step we took and looked like it was almost about fall off every time we lifted it to the heavens in a triumphant reach of sacrifice.

Afterward on the ride home, accompanied by a police escort, we talked about Kurt and how much we missed him and how the championship was for him. It was hard to go through all that celebration knowing that someone who should’ve been there wasn’t physically but instead was with us spiritually.

That thought kept us going all season, it gave us great motivation to win that hardware. We all wanted to do it for Kurt in what would be his senior season. From the first workout, this season to the moment the trophy was lifted, it was all for Kurt.

I won’t ever forget that glorious tournament and all the memories made playing the game and forging the relationships with my teammates. Kurt, that one was for you.

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