Editor’s note: This letter was originally submitted in April and refers to a much earlier letter.

After reading last week’s article about Paul Hruby, I was very angry. The thoughtless, misguided rambling of the writer was off-base. Coach Hruby is one of the most honorable people I have ever met. He has given years of service to the children in our area. A former grade school principal, Coach Hruby taught a lot of lessons, not always about hockey. Many times you would see Coach Hruby helping the children with their homework. Paul made hockey fun, that’s what’s important.

I can remember my first lesson with Coach Hruby back when I was a youngster. He said, “Boys, lift up your jerseys, take off the gloves, and roll around on the ice. If you don’t practice hard, you’ll spend a lot of time down there.” After practice, Coach told us to always carry our own equipment bags and learn to lace our own skates. He said it would make us stronger and tougher.

These days, when we older players return to the rink, we often have a great time reminiscing with Coach. The stories are all so familiar and can be told by thousands of his players both young and old, always with a laugh and a smile.

Coach would always make you smile. We often laugh at the younger players with wheels on their equipment bags–or better yet, those parents who carry the bags as if they were playing instead.

My point is, this is not about the skill level of the players. It’s about the person Coach helped develop. People from all walks of life smiled, laughed, and enjoyed the game under Coach Hruby’s guidance. Paul Hruby has given years of his life to the game. We should honor him for that. He should be honored for his kindness, morality, and guidance to all our youth. This is not about one man’s name on the ice rink, but rather about the spirit he invoked in our community.

The writer of the article was also very misleading regarding the state of the OPRF hockey program. Although they have a very good coach, the win/loss record has been below .500 for many years. Hopefully, that can change.  

Coach Hruby is a true treasure to this community. Clearly, something a non-player could not understand.

John A. Beard
Lifelong hockey player, O.P. resident since 1963

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