It wasn’t the Stanley Cup, but it probably felt like it for the Stoneman Douglas ice hockey team.
Just 11 days after 14 classmates and three faculty members at their school were killed in a mass shooting, the Eagles won the state championship in the Statewide Amateur Hockey of Florida league on Sunday in Estero, Florida. Stoneman Douglas, which entered the last day of the four-team tournament as the No. 4 seed following three losses in pool play, defeated top-seeded East Lake 3-1 in the semifinals before winning the championship match against Tampa Jesuit 7-4.
“I love the way our team came together,” senior Matthew Horowitz, one of the players, said in an interview with Fort Myers’ WINK. “It’s been a rough week for all of us and hockey for us is more of a stress reliever, so we come out on the ice and are able to relieve everything.
“We’re pretty much fighting for the 17 who passed away.”
The team was directly impacted by the shooting on Feb. 14. Jaime Guttenberg, the sister of junior varsity member Jesse Guttenberg, was one of the 17 victims.
Next up: A shot at the national championship. That tournament will take place in Minnesota from March 22-25.
“It’s been a tough week,” team member Joey Zenobi said. “We came here to win. We came here to go to nationals. We all just came together and got the win.”