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Student Who Died In India Remembered In Hopkins

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(credit: CBS) Reg Chapman
Reg Chapman joined WCCO-TV in May of 2009. He came to WCCO fr...
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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.

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