City Times Staff
With a heavy heart, Riverkings’ forward Ryan Mantz did what he did best last week — play hockey.
As reported, the Riverkings fell in a nail-biter to the Dells Ducks in overtime last week, but something bigger was happening in this game. Not only did the game commence with a ceremonial puck drop by Mayor Zach Vruwink, but more importantly, Mantz received word just a day before puck-drop that his father Joel had passed away suddenly on his way for the teams pre-game skate.
This outstanding young man returned to Oshkosh to be with his family after meeting with staff and teammates (his Riverkings family) in our locker room. However, Ryan insisted on playing to honor his dad and made it back to Rapids driving through a snow storm, saying ‘this what Joel would have wanted’.
Not only did he play, but he also assisted on both Riverkings goals and played with all his heart and soul. According to the team, anyone that knows Ryan and his dad know they had a bond through hockey most players wish for.