VOORHEES, N.J. – Even though Shayne Gostisbehere never played hockey for his Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School team, he was as thrilled as anyone when the Eagles won a state championship Sunday.
Just 11 days after a gunman killed 14 students and three teachers at the school, the fourth-seeded MSD squad upset the Nos. 1 and 2 teams to take the title.
“I thought it was pretty cool,’’ said Gostisbehere after Wednesday’s Flyers practice at the Skate Zone. “Obviously the circumstances are a little rough.
“Just to see how they won it, they didn’t win a game in the round-robin and then they came back. . .the way they handled themselves, it was pretty cool to see.’’
Members of the team will be attendance when the Flyers take on the Panthers in Sunrise, Fla. on Sunday.
Stoneman Douglas senior Joey Zenobi told a Florida TV station that the team was playing for the victims of the Valentine’s Day shooting.
“We came into the game knowing we had to give it our all to get the win, and that’s what we did,” Zenobi said. “This wasn’t for us, this was for the 17 victims.’’
Some team members dyed their hair yellow in honor of Joaquin Oliver, a friend of theirs who died in the shooting.
“We almost didn’t even come here, because we didn’t know if we wanted to play or not,” senior Ronnie Froetschel said. “I’m just glad to be alive.”
MSD upset top-seeded East Lake High School in an elimination game before routing Tampa’s Jesuit High School 7-4 later in the day to win the Lightning High School Hockey League Tier 1 state title, according to ESPN.
Gostisbehere was impressed by what the Eagles players did after the championship game.
“What they did with their medals, bringing them back to the school,’’ Gostisbehere said. “The memorial and what not. They handled themselves like adults.’’
Gostisbehere already has his own charity project (GhostBear Foundation to assist children in need and animals) but said he might be interested in starting a possible new one to benefit the school.
“I know right now they’re all going to come to the game in Florida,’’ he commented. “It will be cool to see them, just get their minds off everything they’ve been going through.’’
Gostisbehere has been keeping his eye on TV news to follow what’s been going on in the aftermath, including several busloads of MSD kids going to the Florida capital, Tallahassee, to speak out on gun control.
“It’s cool to see these kids stand up for what they believe,’’ he said. “Obviously they want some change. You feel proud because they are from my hometown.’’