"We skated with him down here at the Dee Stadium that night and found out at like 9:30 p.m. what had happened," remembered Portage Lake Pioneers forward, Charlie Turner.
On Friday, January 4, Pioneers forward, Roger Lewis, was in a fatal snowmobile accident in Franklin Township, not far from Dee Stadium.
Devastated by Lewisâ?? sudden passing, the Pioneers leaned on one another for support.
"Iâ??d say the first two games after our good friend and teammate, Roger Lewis, passed away were pretty emotional for all of us," said Pioneers defenseman, Michael Stevens.
The Pioneers say he was more than just a teammate. He was family.
"He was awesome," Stevens said. "He was so nice all the time, he always had a smile on his face, he always was just super happy. He could always cheer you up no matter what. He definitely is missed in the locker room and on the ice, too, obviously."
"When you have teammates like we do have, weâ??re all brothers and weâ??re all family, so we all pull together, and this is how we get through things like this," Turner explained.
Skating their way through an emotional season, the Pioneers made up for the last few seasons by winning the coveted Gibson Cup last weekend and making their way to the championship.
"Everyone could have easily just fell apart, but we stuck up for each other, and it showed during our season considering we finished our season with a 19 to 4 record," Turner said.
And making it to the championship wasnâ??t easy, but they have a new found strength to end the season on a high note.
"Mostly, weâ??re looking forward to just playing hard and playing for Rogerâ??s memory once again and doing it again," Turner said.
"Itâ??s good to get it done for Roger and have a pretty good season for him, I think," Stevens added. "So, itâ??s pretty special."
The Pioneers play in Eagle River tomorrow at noon against the Fond du Lac Bears in their first game of the championship.