March 14, 2014 - 1:20 PM
VERNON - The story of how a young Prince George hockey player taught us all about sportsmanship has been shared and applauded across the globe.
Matthew Marotta, 12, inspired hundreds of thousands of people when he stood alone to shake his opponents’ hands at a contested peewee hockey game in Vernon, against the wishes of his coach and teammates who departed without the customary gesture. His story was shared thousands of times on Facebook and more than 1,500 comments were left on our site from around the world. It earned him praise from professional players, hockey parents and fans everywhere.
The story has since been translated into Norwegian and shared on Facebook walls from New York to Dubai. A professional hockey player from Austria wants to give Marotta a signed copy of his memoir and closer to home, one of the Vancouver Canucks is going to send him a signed photo and special message.
Bobby Atwal, president of The Fan Zoo, a sports memorabilia company, read the article and was so moved that he shared it among NHL hockey players, including Alex Burrows of the Canucks.
“As a hockey parent myself, I see that way too much pressure is put on kids to win, and it takes the fun out of it,” Atwal says. “Alex Burrows was really impressed by Matthew’s courage and sportsmanship. He said, ‘That took a lot of guts for a kid to do something like that. That is what hockey is all about.”’
Perhaps surprising, however, is the silence from Marotta and his family. We've made numerous attempts to contact him—as have other media. The silence is perhaps out of solidarity with his team, after the coach was suspended by the minor hockey association. His aunt says she will get her nephew’s fan mail to him.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-309-5230.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014