Youth hockey team misses tournament game after equipment stolen

A New Jersey hockey team in town for a national hockey tournament had to cancel their final game of the weekend after their gear was stolen from outside their hotel in St. Louis Park, Minnesota.

Players on the 18-and-under New Jersey Colonials were staying at Spring Hill Suites off Interstate 394. Between games on Saturday, several players left their equipment outside to air out. Then it was stolen.

The theft was captured on surveillance video from the nearby TGIFriday’s. In the video, the suspect is seen picking up the gear from the grass and loading it into his green car.

“I was just like, this is ridiculous. He took like five minutes to casually load our stuff in his car like it was nothing and then he just drove off,” said Tommy Donnelly, one of the Colonials players who had his gear stolen. 

The alleged thief eventually tried pawning the equipment - worth thousands of dollars - at Play It Again Sports in Blaine a day later, not far from the tournament the boys were playing in the Schwan Super Rink.

But, the players’ parents had already alerted all secondhand hockey shops in the area about the theft of the equipment, which included expensive skates, helmet, gloves and pads.

The staff at Play It Again Sports recognized the stolen gear and returned it to the boys with the help of police, but not before the Colonials had to cancel their final game of the weekend. Without their gear, they couldn’t take the ice.

“We have same gloves, same pants, everything,” Donnelly said. “Stickers on our helmets, and he tried to sell it.”

Donnelly and his teammate, Michael Mania, flew home to New Jersey on Monday after getting their equipment back.

“We went undefeated during the week and I was pissed my stuff was gone,” Mania said. “Now since we got it back, I mean the weekend was pretty fun overall.”