Hockey Shares Title With Biggest Fan

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Despite returning to Shaker at around 3 a.m. after the championship game, the hockey team organized a visit to a long-time fan the next day.

The team brought their trophy to Carol and Don Frerichs’s house. “Nobody would appreciate the state title as much as her,” senior Captain Jacob Shick said.

Mrs. Frerichs has been a fan of Shaker hockey for more than 20 years. Frerichs’ sons, Brian (’86) and Scott (’91), both played hockey for Shaker, and Scott was a member of the 1991 state championship team.

“My wife and I both hang around the rink,” said Don Frerichs, Mrs. Frerichs’s husband, who has been the organist at Thornton Park for about 25 years. The Frerichs’ have attended the majority of Shaker hockey games, both home and away, for years.

“On our way onto the ice, she gives us a high five, and after each game, a hug,” Shick said. “It’s been this way as long as anyone can remember.”

Mrs. Frerichs was recently diagnosed with cancer and wasn’t able to attend very many games this season, including the state championship March 9 in Columbus. “I told them I maybe wouldn’t be able to go to too many games, or maybe I would, but I’d be there in spirit and they were there with me,” Mrs. Frerichs said. “The kids have just been wonderful as far as supportive.”

The team didn’t doubt the idea to visit Mrs. Frerichs. “Everyone knew it was the right thing to do. After all, for years she has given up her time to watch us play. The least we could do was spend 20 minutes enjoying the championship with her,” Shick said.

Mrs. Frerichs described feeling “absolutely amazed” by the team’s effort to bring her the trophy. “It was a surprise. They let me hold it, they took my picture with it, but unfortunately, I couldn’t keep it. It had to go back to the school.”

Mr. Frerichs was touched by the experience as well. “It was very humbling because here was a group of 22 young lads who thought it was important enough to do this. . . it was pretty close to bringing a tear to the eye,” he said.

Head Coach Michael Bartley thinks the team’s act of kindness mirrors his players’ personalities. “Hockey is an aggressive sport, but these athletes play with sportsmanship and respect, which is a reflection of their character away from the rink,” he said.

Junior defenseman Ryan LaMonica said he will remember every part of his championship experience, “especially Mrs. Frerichs who has supported us every step of the way, even through her illness,” LaMonica said. “She will always be in our hearts.”

Shick will also remember Mrs. Frerichs when he reflects on this season. “I think we will be glad we were able to share it with Shaker’s biggest sports fan in history,” Shick said.

Mrs. Frerichs thinks the team’s actions prove that “if you’re supportive of a youth, they will support you back.”

A version of this article appeared in print on 26 March 2013, on page 12 of The Shakerite.

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