In Parkland, Florida, the Stoneman Douglas High School community continues to recover and work through the grieving process following the mass shooting that claimed the lives of 17 students and staff two weeks ago.
As the school begins opening the doors to students once again, the boys ice hockey team continued to play on through the state playoffs. On Sunday, the Eagles pulled off a miraculous feat by winning two games to claim the state championship.
Stoneman Douglas entered the state hockey tournament as the fourth seed in the field, but to come through and play the way they did is a remarkable feat. Not only did the team manage to keep their focus on the ice under tragic circumstances, but the Eagles pulled off an upset of the state’s top-seeded team from East Lake in the Sunday morning semi-final game. Then in the finals later that afternoon, Stoneman Douglas topped Tampa Jesuit, 7-4, to clinch the state title.
Making the championship feat even more improbable was that Stoneman Douglas lost all three games in round-robin play earlier in the state tournament before winning the final two games for the championship. It was similar to Germany not winning a single game in round-robin play during the Olympics and still managing to play for the gold medal.
Only this time, the run had a celebratory ending for the underdog.
Entering the day as the bottom seed, the Marjory #StonemanDouglas hockey team has pulled off the unthinkable, rallying to win two games, in commanding fashion, to become State Champs!!! Hear from them tonight on @ABC7SWFL and @NBC2 pic.twitter.com/EL2nlZ0ua9
— Andrew McDevitt (@AMcDevittTV) February 25, 2018
“We almost didn’t come here because we didn’t know if we wanted to play or not,” senior Ronnie Froetschel told NBC Miami.
The team received 17 medals for their accomplishment, one for each player. Interestingly, the mass shooting that has gripped the nation claimed 17 lives. The hockey team will use those medals to honor the victims of the latest mass shooting tragedy in our nation.
“We plan to bring all the medals to the school when we go home,” said senior Matthew Horowitz. “There were 17 of us on the ice. We plan to put one medal on every single person that passed away.”
This story could continue to provide some magic, as the team now has a chance to compete in the high school hockey national championships tournament, beginning March 22 in Plymouth, Minnesota.