ALBERTVILLE, Minn. (WCCO) — For more than four decades, Coach Harold Graczyk was a fixture on the ice.
“He liked to win, but he really liked to win by doing it right,” said friend Scott Klatt of River Lakes Youth Hockey. “Any association would be blessed to have him be a part of it, especially for as long as he was.”
Known affectionately as Coach Harv, he taught his St. Michael-Albertville players more than the game of hockey.
“Before our last game of the year, he took each one of us into the hallway and gave us a hug and told us no matter what happened that he would still be there for us and that he loved us,” said STMA sophomore Aaron Loch, who had Graczyk as a coach.
At Sunday night’s game, there was a moment of silence to remember the man whose legacy will live on through the lives he touched.
Late last month, Graczyk slipped while coaching his youth hockey team. Hitting his head on the ice, he suffered a traumatic brain injury and was rushed to the ICU.
He died on Saturday.
“There are no words to describe the loss to this community and to the hockey family in general across the state,” Klatt said.
Graczyk’s family sent the following statement to WCCO-TV:
“We are deeply saddened to announce the sudden passing of Harv. He had a unique way of touching many lives. He was a very generous and hard working person. He was caring and compassionate towards his family, friends and community. All of which was guided by his Catholic faith. His legacy will forever live on.”
“He always made you feel special or wanting to achieve more and that you were better just because you knew the guy,” Klatt said.
A GoFundMe page has been established to help Graczyk’s family with funeral costs. As of Sunday night, it has raised more than $16,000.