When I was in high school, I was always intrigued by the Breckenridge-Wahpeton Blades hockey team. I played basketball in the winter and had teammates that I thought of as brothers, but a hockey family always seemed to take it to another level. That closeness from players who were best friends even though they were from different towns amazed me and it still continues to.
The Blades suffered a loss on Saturday, July 6 when former player and current assistant coach Tyler Wohlers passed away at the age of 21. Unfortunately, this isn’t a new thing for these young players. They’ve already had to attend funerals for their teammate Carter Casey and their head coach Ryan Breuer who also left this world too soon. These high school kids and the rest of the Blades family have dealt with more loss in the past few years than most people go through in a lifetime, but they continue to back each other up and support one another.
Social media flooded with love from former and current Blades, along with former Huskies and high school classmates of Tyler, who graduated in 2016. The parents who had children suit up for BW were also offering their support to Tyler’s family.
I covered Tyler my first year working as sports editor and I could see how loved he was by his teammates and peers. The toughness he brought to the ice and the gridiron always stood out to me.
I remember how excited I was to see him come back to the Blades as an assistant coach this year. I didn’t know he was on the staff until he was walking into the locker room with the team and gave me a quick “Hey,” before going to help his team make adjustments for the next period. Judging by all the posts I’ve seen on social media, helping people was another strength for Tyler.
He was treated with a front-row seat to watch his brother Isaac dominate the ice all season. Having two brothers of my own, I can only imagine how proud Tyler was watching his brother shine in the sport he loved so much.
Many of the social media posts cite Tyler’s kindness and his smile. While going though my old hockey photos, I found some of his mom and dad, Jill and Tim, on Senior Night. By just looking at those photos, you can tell how proud they were of the man their son grew up to be and where Tyler got his smile from.
My thoughts, along with the rest of the Twin Towns, are with the Wohlers family. Tyler didn’t get to brighten the world as long as he should have, but his positive impact will continue to be felt on the lives he touched.