MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There has been an outpouring of support for the family of a man who died recently while playing in a pond hockey tournament.

Greg Riebe suffered a heart attack at 46. He collapsed after a game at the North American Pond Hockey Championships on Lake Minnetonka last month. Greg’s wife, Kate, said he had an undiagnosed genetic heart condition. And she said it’s the strength from friends and family that keeps her going.

Four-year-old August points at a picture of his dad with pride. His mom wants August to remember everything about him.

“Greg was an incredible man. He did so much for our family. He took them on adventures. He just did anything and everything he could to help around the house. He was the love of my life,” Kate Riebe said.

And Kate said health stayed top of mind for the 46-year-old.

“He tried to stay very healthy, he was always telling me, ‘I have to stay healthy for you and the kids,'” Kate Riebe said.

He ran marathons, played soccer and for years, Greg played in pond hockey tournaments with friends.

“It was something he loved to do. He hadn’t skated since last winter and he went and skated the night before the pond hockey tournament that Friday just to get his skates on and be on the ice for a little bit,” Kate Riebe said.

A picture was taken of Greg in the moment, playing with his Excelsior Brewing Company teammates, minutes before he fainted and later collapsed.

“We found out he had arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy. So it’s a genetic condition that he did not know he had. He had no signs, no symptoms,” Kate Riebe said.pond hockey

A gut-wrenching loss for a young family with so much on the horizon.

“There’s a huge void in our lives without him here, especially for the kids,” Kate Riebe said.

It’s in her kids that she sees her husband. Not just in features they got from their dad, but in who they are.

“Greg taught August a lot of things about being sociable with people and being polite and you can see it every day in August, and with Emma I can definitely see his personality in her too,” Kate Riebe said.

And it’s those blessings she’ll hang on to as they begin a chapter without him.

“I’m very blessed to have been his wife and very blessed to have him in my life even though it was such a short time,” Kate Riebe said.

A celebration of life and fundraiser is planned for March 8 at Excelsior Brewing Company. A fund has also been set up to help the family.

Jennifer Mayerle

Comments (4)