Ex-UMD hockey team captain dies after fall at Chicago airport
DULUTH, Minn.—Andrew Carroll, a four-time Minnesota Duluth hockey letterman and multi-year team captain, died Monday at the age of 32.
His family, in a statement, said Carroll died after a fall at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.
A native of Shoreview, Minn., Carroll is the only individual in UMD's 74-year team history to have served as a captain or assistant captain for at least part of four seasons.
"We are devastated and heartbroken by the news our former captain, Andrew Carroll, has passed away," the UMD hockey staff said in a statement. "Andrew was a driven student-athlete, loyal teammate and selfless leader. He exemplified Bulldog hockey in every way, and it is clear how much he meant to this program by the outpouring of emotion we have received from his teammates and other alumni since we heard of the accident."
Carroll played in 153 games with the Bulldogs and totaled 69 points (34 goals, 35 assists). The physical-education major earned WCHA All-Academic honors three times.
"Seeing Andrew Carroll play hockey, meant seeing someone with a smile, all the time," former Duluth newspaper reporter Kevin Pates, who covered UMD hockey for 23 years, said via email. "Tirelessly working at practice, after practice, in games. He loved being part of team, setting an example and finding out what his effort could bring. Always upbeat. Always intense.
"In 2008-09, after UMD finished the regular season winless in the final five games, the captains, including Carroll, met with the team, and talked about not missing an opportunity. The Bulldogs went on to win the WCHA playoff title and qualified for the NCAA tournament for the first time in five years.
"Carroll wasn't a scoring leader, but a leader in every other category you can measure."
During that senior season, Carroll became the first Bulldogs men's hockey player to receive the Shjon Podein Community Service Award, which is presented annually to a UMD student-athlete who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the field of play and has made noteworthy humanitarian contributions in the Duluth and UMD communities.
In addition, Carroll was one of 10 NCAA Division I players who were chosen as finalists for the 2008-09 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, which is based on achievement in the "Four C's" — classroom, character, community and competition.
Following his collegiate career, Carroll played professionally for seven seasons with nine American Hockey League and East Coast Hockey League teams.
In a statement, the Carroll family said: "We are deeply saddened to share of the loss of Andrew, an amazing brother, son, uncle, nephew, cousin, teammate, mentor and friend who died tragically after a fall at the Chicago O'Hare Airport. We are deeply grieving but have the assurance that he is in the loving arms of Jesus because of his decision to accept Christ.
"At this difficult time, what also gives us comfort is that his life meant so much to so many people and he was able to give the gift of hope by donating his heart and organs so that others might have life."
Plans for a celebration of life are in the works.
In honor of Carroll, the Bulldogs will sport a special "AC" decal on their helmets the rest of this season.