MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The life of a former Hopkins hockey player was celebrated Saturday night.

Twenty-year-old Tom Plotkin died while studying abroad in India in September. He was hiking on a trail when he twisted his ankle and fell more than 100 yards. His body has yet to be found.

Inside the VFW hall in Hopkins, Plotkin’s former hockey teammates put together a benefit dinner and game to honor him.

“It was honestly contagious when he smiled — everyone in the room smiled, said Matt Kallas, Plotkin’s friend.

Plotkin moved to Minnesota from California his sophomore year in high school, and he quickly became the guy people depended on and looked up to.

“He was just always so positive. It was hard to be negative about anything when you’re around Tom,” said John Hicks, a friend.

Plotkin’s classmates and friends left messages Saturday to express their grief.

The University of Iowa junior was one month into his semester abroad in India, hiking on a cobblestone trail about the Ganges River, when he twisted his ankle and fell down a deep slope.

Daniel Plotkin said his brother cared deeply for others and that it was good to see so many also cared about him, too. He said he was glad he witnessed his brother mature into a man everyone loved and respected.

“It was wonderful to see him grow up this last year and really kind of find more about who he was,” Plotkin said.

His friends said they know one thing for sure, they know who Plotkin was and they vow to keep those memories close.

Everything from the ice time, to the pizza and the jersey the players wore Saturday was donated by people and businesses in Hopkins.

Plotkin’s friends said he had a dream of caring and feeding the entire world — that’s why all the money donated during the dinner and hockey game will be given to an organization tasked to feed the world’s starving children.

Comments (3)
  1. Ellen says:

    This is very sad! I just don’t understand why young people are so eager to
    study or travel abroad into countries that can be hostile towards Americans.
    Not that India is particularly hostile. There must have been someone hiking
    with him at the time, or there wouldn’t be facts reported regarding a
    twisted ankle and subsequent fall. But if someone witnessed it, they
    should have been able to find the body. Unless he actually fell into the
    river and was swept away. I hope he was enjoying his time studying
    over there, and that his last days and hours brought him pleasure.
    Sympathy to his family and friends for their loss of this young man.

    1. jackactionhero says:

      Why not leave your sympathies and be done with it? Why speculate on the rest?

      They can’t just repel down and find his body, and if you knew anything at all, this fact would already be known to you. They found his backpack all over the place a mile downstream from where he fell.

      What is up with your “hostile towards Americans” comment? That had no place in your comment.

      You should be ashamed of yourself. Grow up. Seriously.

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