FRIDLEY, Minn. (WCCO) — Hundreds of community members turned out to show their support for a Minnesota hockey player paralyzed during a game on Saturday.
The number 14 jersey graces the halls of Totino-Grace’s hockey arena. The young man who wore it wanted to play since he was a young boy.READ MORE: Tips For Buying A Home In A Historically Tough Market
“When I say he always worked hard he literally was a kid who every single day he tried his best,” said Totino-Grace coach Mark Loahr.
It’s been two years since Matt Olson graduated and skated on the Eagles’ ice, but on Saturday, the alumni skated for him.
The event was a fundraiser to help his family after Matt Olson was paralyzed during a Chicago Cougars game in February.
“He’s my little brother. Just thinking, all the stuff we used to do when we were little is just running through your head, and just seeing him laying there,” Steve Olson, Matt’s brother, said.
The community rallied to help cover medical expenses. Hundreds turned out for the alumni game, a live auction and raffle.READ MORE: What's The Risk Of Getting COVID On A Plane?
Even Governor Mark Dayton stopped by to show his support.
“I know that the Lord has even greater prospects in life for him than ice hockey, and somehow this will lead him on the path to future greatness,” said Dayton.
Before Steve Olson dropped the ceremonial puck in honor of his brother, he said he doesn’t know what the long term prognosis will be.
But Matt Olson’s friends say they know he’ll be fighting just as he did on the ice.
“He’s going to make something good out of this. Just the kind of kid that he is I’m really confident and proud already of what he’s going to do in life,” said Loahr.MORE NEWS: DNR: Early 'Fish Kill' On Minnesota Lakes Isn't Cause For Alarm
Matt Olson is still with his parents at a hospital in Chicago. He is paralyzed from the shoulders down, but his coach said he has physical therapy and he was able to talk to him on the phone for the first time Saturday morning.