APPLE VALLEY, Minn. – Patrick Schoonover, the 14-year-old who died while playing hockey in Brainerd, passed away of a heart defect, not a hockey injury, according to his family.
The Schoonover family stood among friends and the hockey community Sunday at Hayes Arena as Patrick's younger brother, Matthew, took the ice with his peewee team to honor his brother.
Eastview beat Eagan 7-1, but the score wasn't the focus. It was about coming together as a hockey family.
"This was just an extra special day for the kids and for the Eastview community and everybody that came to just show their support for Patrick," said Mike Schoonover, Patrick's father.
Many players taped "Schoonover" to the back of their jerseys. Matthew, who turned 12 years old on Sunday, wore his brother's jersey on the ice. Signs of support packed the arena. Mike said the outpouring of support has been comforting to the family.
"Just the acts of kindness we've seen from the community, and the comments that people have made, and everything that's on social media has just been overwhelming," Mike said.