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The Champion of Champions - Junior Hockey News
Published: Sunday, 22 Apr 2012
By: Eric Yeomans
The Granite City Lumberjacks followed up being named the
NA3HL Organization of the Year by capturing the NA3HL championship two weeks
ago to cap off a season that was full of successes for the team.
Among the award winners on the team were goaltender Matt
Grove, who captured the League MVP, League Goaltender of the Year, and 1st
team Goaltender honors, Peter Lindblad, who was named League Forward of the
Year and was a 1st Team Forward, and Nick Zierden, who joined Grove
and Lindblad on the 1st Team as a 1st Team Defenseman.
General Manager Brad Willner also received the NA3HL General Manager of the
But yet there was one man who rose above the rest. The person
that the Lumberjacks give responsibility to for inspiring the team to dig deep
down within themselves and find that necessary will to win. And that man is
within the Junior Hockey community know the story. Playing at a Junior Hockey
Showcase in Downers Grove, Ill., McPhail went hard into the boards head
first, and suffered a concussion and spinal cord injury. The injuries ended up
being fractures of the T5 and T6 vertebrae, which have forced McPhail to
require the use of a wheelchair.
is the point where most of us would give up. Where we would look back and
question why us. But Ezra McPhail isn't most of us.
the injury, Ezra has worked extensively every day with physical therapy to help
his recovery. And not only is he working hard to recover, but he is working
even harder to get back on the ice. Yes, the sport that changed Ezra's life
forever is the same sport that is providing him with the inspiration to recover
from this tragedy.
plans to pursue a future in sled hockey, and was given the opportunity to get
into several games this season. It's this love for the game that allows him to
remain positive, and allow him to spread this positive attitude to those around
the love and support of all those around him, Ezra continues to heal. And
through this process, he continues to provide inspiration to everyone through
trying times. Here is a man who embodies the very definition of champion. And
there's no doubt his hard work and passion will continue to lead to success.
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