Zach Boland played with the Granite City Warriors hockey team all four years of his prep career. He died in July.
For four years, Zach Boland was a valuable member of the Granite City Warriors hockey team.
“He gave you everything he had to help you win a hockey game,” Granite City coach Frank Parker said. “The one thing you ask for as a coach is to give 110 percent every day. He brought a lot of energy and a lot of fun.”
Boland played for the Warriors from 2010-2014. Four months ago, Boland died at age 19 in a forklift accident at a Pontoon Beach warehouse.
“He was a great guy,” Granite City senior Austin Loyd said. “It was a sad loss to see him go and I know he meant a big part to the team and the coaches and everything.”
At 6:50 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 24, at Wilson Park Ice Rink, the Warriors will have Zach Boland Night as they play the Freeburg/Waterloo Ragin’ Bulldogs. They will have a short ceremony before the game.
The Warriors are dedicating their season to Boland this year. They have made T-shirts in Boland’s memory. The black T-shirts were made by Shirts Galore and More in Pontoon Beach and have the words “In Memory of Zach Boland” written on them, along with two hockey sticks and his uniform number, 74. Short-sleeve T-shirts are for sale for $10, long-sleeve T-shirts are $14 and hoodies are $20.
Also, the Warriors made patches on their helmets bearing the initials “ZB” and Boland’s uniform number.
“Zach was a kid who really loved hockey,” Granite City team president Jason Smith said.
Senior Darian Glenn, who is the Warriors’ captain and is in his fourth season with the team, said he enjoyed playing with Boland. Glenn first met Boland when he was in eighth grade.
“Every game, he amped everybody up and he brought a whole lot of energy to the team,” Glenn said. “He was a tough loss.”
The Warriors were scheduled to play East Alton-Wood River on Monday at East Alton Ice Arena. Last week, Granite City lost back-to-back games to Alton and Highland.
Parker said he hopes his team will finish with a strong season this winter.
“I’m optimistic that hopefully we’ll get to a .500 season and hopefully, we’ll stun some people in the playoffs with the chemistry we have,” said Parker, whose team finished with one win last year. “Maybe we’ll shock some people in the playoffs.”
The Warriors’ game against Freeburg/Waterloo on Nov. 24 will be the only time the two teams will play each other this winter.
Two years ago, Freeburg and Waterloo merged their hockey teams into one squad. Their junior varsity team won an MVCHA junior varsity gold championship last winter.