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Sports have the unique ability to act as a vehicle for emotion. Anger, triumph and sadness are all aspects of any athletic event.
So when the final buzzer sounded at Friday’s Michigan High School Athletic Association semifinal hockey game between Grandville High School and Detroit Central Catholic, there had to be an outlet for the host of emotions the Grandville team was experiencing.
Just hours before the game, their team captain, Ryan Fischer, had unexpectedly died of an enlarged heart.
Fischer was a well-rounded student-athlete, according to mlive.com. He played three different sports, maintained a 4.0 grade-point average and was expected to attend West Point in the fall.
Fischer’s death came as a devastating shock to his family and community, and with the semifinal game approaching, a decision had to be reached whether to play the game.
Despite their heavy hearts, Grandville elected to play. The team suffered a 3-0 loss, but what happened afterward was an example of a game that carried far more meaning than what happened inside the boards.
When the game ended, fans raised their index fingers in tribute to Fischer’s No. 11 jersey. The Grandville team huddled around its net for a prayer, then were joined by the entire Central Catholic squad.
Watch the touching moment in the video below: