The most compelling sports story of the week was not in the NFL playoffs, the college football playoffs, the NBA, or the NHL. It wasn’t even televised.
On Saturday night, the Red Wing alumni team took on a squad of former University of Michigan players. It was just an exhibition, which only mattered to those who thought it mattered. But 2,000 folks did, because it mattered a great deal to a former Michigan star named Scott Matzka.
Matzka grew up in Port Huron, and went to Michigan in 1997, along with ten other freshmen. He was the fastest player on the team, a feisty forward with a knack for killing penalties.
In his first season, Michigan made it to the NCAA finals. In overtime, Matzka passed to fellow freshman Josh Langfeld, who slipped it into the net for the goal, the game, and the title.
Matzka was also a star student, majoring in computer science. He helped his roommate, goalie L.J. Scarpace, get through calculus. After graduating, Matzka played in the U.S. and Europe for eleven years. Along the way, he married Catie, and had two kids. When Matzka retired from hockey, they settled in Catie’s home town of Kalamazoo, where he put his degree to good use developing software, then consulting. Life seemed pretty great.
Two years ago, while hanging drywall, Matzka noticed his hand cramped up, and wouldn’t release. It happened again when he was digging for change in his car. Something was wrong – but what was it?...READ MORE