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State of Hockey mourns Eastview player who died 'playing game he loved'

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Hundreds of people have taken to social media to remember Patrick Schoonover, an Eastview hockey player who died Friday while "playing the game he loved so much," his family said.

The 14-year-old was a member of the Eastview Bantam AA team and was playing in the Battle for the Blue Ox hockey tournament in Brainerd when he collapsed, but couldn't be revived.

Now, the hockey community is remembering Patrick. Players wrote "play for Patrick," along with his number, 96, on their sticks, held moments of silence before games, and tweeted their sorrow using the hashtag #PlayForPatrick.

Youth hockey associations, college teams and the Minnesota Wild all offered their condolences to the family, his teammates and the State of Hockey.

Following the Wild's 2-1 win over the Dallas Stars, coach Mike Yeo began his post-game press conference by talking about Patrick.

He said, according to the Star Tribune:

“Since we heard about what happened yesterday, Patrick, it’s been him, his family, the Eastview community, they’ve been in our thoughts. So it’s a tough thing. It’s a game that brings a lot of joy and happiness to a lot of us. So when something like that, something terrible, happens within it, it definitely hits you hard.

“I just hope that we can be there any way that we can.”

Jack Jablonski, who was paralyzed while playing for Benilde-St. Margaret's in Dec. 2011, also offered his support to the family.

The story of Jablonski's injury and recovery prompted changes to rulebooks and inspired many in youth sports.

The cause of Patrick's death hasn't been released. It's unknown if anything during the game led to his death and Minnesota Hockey President Dave Margenau told the Star Tribune that he's waiting to figure out what happened before taking action, noting safety is the league's top priority and it's "unfair to speculate that there was any unsafe behavior."

Between 1982 and 2011 there were 180 deaths in high school winter sports, nine of those occurred from "direct" injuries, the others were from "indirect" issues, such as underlying health problems, according to a 2011 University of North Carolina study.

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