Kitchener minor hockey coach and trainer passes away after collapsing at a game
KITCHENER -- Kitchener minor hockey coach and trainer Al Scheklesky has died after collapsing during a road game in Windsor.
The community he made an impact on is now struggling with his tragic death.
Many he knew say that losing him is like losing a family member.
"He taught, not just me but the whole team, a lot about hard work and persevering through tough things," says Kitchener Jr. Rangers left winger Kai Schwindt.
One week ago, the team travelled to Windsor for an away game.
"In the process of unloading all the materials out, he felt a strain in his neck," explains Assistant Coach Chris Stephens.
The situation escalated: Scheklesky collapsed. He was resuscitated with CPR and brought to a Windsor hospital.
"That was the last time we that we saw him, so it's a little tough there," Stephens says.
Scheklesky passed away on Thursday night. An obituary for the man says that he died of cardiac arrhythmia.
Those close to him called him "The Mayor" because he was more than the trainer for the Jr. Rangers – he was the go-to guy who would do anything to help the team.
"It's 11:30 at night and you come back into the equipment room and there's Al washing whatever the kids need, there's Al prepping their equipment for the next day," remembers Kitchener Minor Hockey Association General Manager Rolland Cyr.
He also coached the Rangers' nine-year-old team, which has a tournament on Sunday. Parents will have to break the news to players in that tournament.
The man's family decided to donate his organs in order to save two other people's lives.
"That's typical Al, always giving, always helping out other people," says Head Coach of the Midget AAA Rangers Dave Clipped.
The Kitchener Jr. Rangers say they'll be honouring Scheklesky at their next home and away games.
Arrangements for a funeral and a celebration of life are expected to be announced this week.