Dexter hockey derails Chelsea 2-1 in an emotional regular season matchup
By Ryan Lotz
When the clock ran out and the buzzer rang, my body electrified. A burst of emotion flushed throughout my veins as I looked over and saw Coach Wink’s eyes start to water. To see a man who constantly chirps you, whos underwent three heart attacks, and who’s tougher than a box of nails shed a tear was truly remarkable. To be honest, I never knew this man could show any signs of emotion, let alone cry. At this moment, I knew it was real; however, it felt incomplete due to a recent Chelsea tragedy.
Chris Gingell, a player on Chelsea’s Varsity hockey team, took his life two days prior to the game. He was only 15. Personally, I didn’t know Chris that well, but many of our teammates had played with him throughout their hockey career and had become close friends. Although one player may not make a significant difference, you could feel the absence of his presence on the ice. It felt awkward. The game didn’t feel as if it was fueled by the rivalry. As much as we all wished to have Chris back, we knew we couldn’t. The only thing each team could do was play for him. To show our support, during the national anthem, our team skated over and stood behind the Chelsea lineup, letting them know that we had their backs. The decision on whether to play or not rested in the father’s hands.
Mr. Gingell knew that Chris would have wanted this game to be played as if he was still here, with the same intensity, and fury that has been shown in previous matchups. Saturday, February 17th, was all business.
We all put this emotional hardship in the back of our head and just played. That’s the best thing about hockey, you can take all your stress, ideas, and thoughts, and just leave them out on the ice. There’s nothing to think about except your next move; hockey’s fast-paced structure does not give you any time to think about anything else. We all arrived at the rink, went through our warmup, and laced up our skates. Then, with the stands full and students lined up along the glass, we hit the ice. The first period was scoreless, but late into the second, junior Logan Eggleston walked through the Chelsea defense and ripped a laser right through Aidan Boote. Although the celebration was not up to par, the Dexter fanbase went crazy.
After the goal, everyone knew that we were here to win. Time slowly ticked by and we headed into the third with a one-goal lead. After a speech from the coaching staff, we were prepared to defend this lead with everything we had. With 12 minutes into the third, sophomore Nate Kniestedt racked up another goal as the puck trickled through the goaltenders weak glove. This two-goal lead just gave us even more confidence against the number eight team in the state. Once we had added this insurance goal the game switched into defensive mode as every loose puck was cleared from our zone and dumped deep. With two minutes left on the clock, Chelsea buried a goal. It was now a 2-1 game.
Dexter hockey team stands during national anthem of home game.
Chelsea pulled the goalie and had a man advantage with less than a minute left, they worked the puck around the zone but couldn’t penetrate our experienced, talented defense. We won the faceoff and Trevor Lotz carried the puck out of the zone, with stone hands he was surprisingly able to elude one defender and burn the clock. The buzzer rang, we cleared the bench and sprinted right for the student section.
Although the game didn’t end in Chelsea’s favor, it was a great way to support the Gingell family and spread awareness for this heartbreaking issue. It gave most of the team a needed closure knowing we left everything on that sheet of ice for him.
Life’s too short, and I ask each and every one of you to use your voice and speak up if you find yourself in a troubled state of mind. There is nothing in this world that is worth a life. At the end of the day, hockey is just a game; it’s amazing how on little game can leave such a huge impact on others.