By Brad Spencer
You won’t see Paul Hruby riding on a float or marching in Michigan State’s Homecoming parade on Oct. 22, despite the fact that his college alma mater recently honored him with the prestigious Jack Breslin Lifetime Achievement Award.
The longtime fixture at Oak Park's Ridgeland Common — they named the rink after the man in 2007 — will be busy coaching hockey here in Oak Park.
“They wanted me to come up and march in the parade with the Varsity Club, but this is my season,” said Hruby. “I’ll be busy here with hockey.”
Two weeks ago, Hruby received the Breslin Award during a dinner for alumni at Michigan State. The next day he was honored after the first quarter of the football game.
“It’s truly an honor to be selected,” he said. “There are some great guys that have received the same award."
In 2006, Hruby, who played for the Spartans, was inducted into the Illinois Hockey Hall of Fame. He’s been coaching hockey in the community since 1960.
Hruby is so beloved in the area that Oak Parker Mike Sankowski is currently trying to get the legendary coach his own parking space at Ridgeland Common, a place with limited parking. Sankowski has started a Facebook page for Hruby, who at 76 still takes to the ice for frequent skates.
“I had surgery on a knee a month or so ago, and I need to loosen it up. So, what better way to do that than skate.”