Minnesota's robust hockey communities are doing all they can to pay tribute to the Motzko family after 20-year-old Mack Motzko died in a fatal crash Saturday night in Orono.
Tributes from near and far have filled timelines on social media, including a brief but devastating statement from Motzko's father, University of Minnesota Golden Gophers men's hockey coach Bob Motzko.
"Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our Mack. No bigger heart or young man loved than this kid. Thanks to all who have reached out. He is my hero!" Motzko posted, attaching a photo of his family with Mack on the ice at a St. Cloud Cathedral hockey game.
Orono Police Department said Motzko was a back seat passenger in a car that left the road at a high rate of speed, striking several trees at approximately 11:23 p.m. Saturday near 3120 North Shore Drive. Motzko and the driver, a 51-year-old man, were taken to North Memorial Health Hospital, where Motzko died.
The driver suffered critical injuries. A front seat passenger also died at the scene. The identities of the driver and other victim have not been released. Police believe speed and alcohol may have been contributing factors.
Motzko was a standout player at St. Cloud Cathedral and Minnetonka high schools. He moved to Minnetonka during his junior season when his father took the job as head coach at the U of M in 2018. Cathedral hockey paid tribute to their former captain:
"To a great captain, an outstanding player, a fantastic teammate, and most importantly an unbelievable person, we are going to miss you so much. You left an indelible mark on our program and with every person who interacted with your infectious personality. We love you Mack," the program posted on social media.
Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck offered his support to the Motzkos by saying he and his wife, Heather, "are heartbroken for Bob Motzko and their family as they grieve the loss of their beloved son, Mack. We extend our deepest condolences to everyone involved and will keep the Motzko family in our thoughts and prayers."
Cathedral played Cretin-Derham Hall in a hockey game Sunday, and afterward the teams gathered for prayer at center ice and honored Motzko by laying sticks on the ice to form his initials.
Dozens of tributes have been posted to social media, including numerous high school and college programs, as well as from the some of the biggest names in Minnesota hockey.