As Minnesota prepares to host the 2018 USA Hockey National Championships, one team's journey stands out against the rest.
The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School hockey team won the Florida state championship just over a week after a devastating school shooting that killed 17 students and rocked the southern Florida community, earning themselves a trip to Plymouth, Minn., next month--as well as a well needed respite from the horror their friends and families are still experiencing.
"Hockey just kind of takes away all the pain, all the thoughts," said Joey Zenobi, one of the players for Stoneman Douglas. "It's kind of a getaway where we can just play. We came here to win, and that's what we did."
Plymouth city officials and Wayzata Youth Hockey say they've been planning the event for more than a year, bringing three dozen teams together for a four-day tournament to determine the country's best Junior Gold-level team.
Now, however, the most recent addition to the bracket is inspiring those around the Twin Cities area to go above and beyond in showing the team a little bit of Minnesota Nice.
"Local people, like the Sunshine Factory, have already reached out to me that they would love to have the team come there and give them a complimentary meal," Greg Gibson of Wayzata Youth Hockey said. "Everybody understands what they’ve been through."