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Hospice patient and hockey champion returns to the ice

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — From playing on the ice to rooting from the bleachers, the wish of a longtime fan came true Saturday night.

Hospice patient Jerry Edman got the chance to relive his glory days by watching two of his favorite hockey teams compete.

“If he were of normal, sound mind, I know he would just be crazy about this,” said his daughter, Mindy Stoops. “I mean this is dad. This is dad all the way.”

Edman had been confined to the Greenleaf Health Campus in Elkhart for two years, but Saturday he journeyed to South Bend to watch the Minnesota Gophers take on Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish.

“I think we all just, especially this time a year, feel so blessed to be able to have an opportunity to something like this for him,” said Stoops. “It’s definitely overwhelming but it’s going to be a great memory for us all to have.”

A chance meeting with the star hockey team and coach from Minnesota was the latest memory for this family.

“It was just amazing to see him and his family be able to share this experience because he hadn’t left our campus in almost two years,” said Jade Brumitt, Life Enrichment Director for Greenleaf.

His family says Jerry isn’t as communicative as he once was, but he’s still a loud hockey fan at heart.

“When we went over to a meet and greet with the team and the coach and with some of the players, he was awake the whole time,” said Stoops. “There’s no doubt in my mind he knew where he was.”

In his heyday, Jerry was a star hockey player for the Gophers.

“He was a walk on as a freshman and they liked what he can do,” said his wife Marty Edman.

He did quite a bit, too.

He even won a Big Ten championship with the team.

Jerry would much later find a new hockey home in Notre Dame.

“He used to work there for several years with the hockey program,” said Stoops.

With help from Greenleaf and the Harbor Light Hospice’s “Dare to Dream” program, the meet and greet isn’t where his dream ended.

Jerry was back in the Compton Center, albeit a bit further away this time, reliving his life on the ice through his two favorite teams.

And although the Irish picked up a 5-2 victory over the Gophers, the night was still a dream come true for Jerry.

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