I heard the awful news today that a child in my hometown’s youth hockey program was killed in a tragic snowmobile accident over the weekend.

Cale Osterhoff, 7, a Kankakee Coyote mite, is said to have adored the sport so much he asked to stick around and attend high school games of the Kankakee Irish, for whom my youngest brother now plays.


I never met him personally, or saw him play. So, nothing could be a fitting tribute.

However, I can’t stop thinking about those little hockey players. Their tiny skates, sticks, and gloves contrasted by their mighty hopes and dreams.

It doesn’t matter if they’re 60 miles south of Chicago, or in Buffalo or Winnipeg.

I’ve sat in cold rinks watching my brothers fall stumble over the ice, fall victim to the offside rules, score their first goals, celebrate their wins, and bounce back from their losses. And we’ve all mourned as our favorite teams’ seasons ended before we thought they should.

But, there’s no way to hang your head so low for a loss like this — a happy player taken from his “team” far too early.

This is heartbreaking for the entire hockey family; and so we raise and tap our sticks to the ice for you, Cale, No. 19, and we wish your loved ones and Coyote teammates strength during this very difficult time.


irish coyotes



Carly Mullady grew up needing to know more about icing than its deliciousness on cupcakes. She's the lone daughter of four children, with a father who was among the last cut from the Midwest tryouts for the 1980 Miracle on Ice Olympic team. And she knows very little matches the thrill that happens from puck-drop to handshakes. A rink didn’t return to her hometown until she was gone, but she’s been able to see two younger brothers on the ice. She's their feistiest fan. Her other hockey loyalty lies with the Blackhawks--whether it's meant seeing games for $8 with student IDs when the Madhouse didn’t have much of a temper at all, or dancing to Chelsea Dagger at standing room only--there’s something magical about a roaring anthem, the Indianhead sweater, and the Original Six. A former journalist and current editor, she carries a penchant for excitement (and maybe even fighting) with a resume that includes working for Chicago-area newspapers, and television, including The Jerry Springer Show, as well as NBCUniversal in New York. After East Coast living and a return to the Chicago area, the new Mrs. is giving Graceland a go with her Southern Gent, who now shares her adoration of the game, and their rescue dog, Doc Holliday. Other interests include Cubs, Bears, Illini, Crimson Tide, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, baking a mean pineapple upside-down cake, Kate Spade accessories, and a properly coordinated cardigan for every ensemble.



  1. A hockey player is part of a family and when one of the family is gone we all grieve that beloved players passing. I am sure the team has lost a special soul. God bless! Chicago mom of a hockey player.

  2. The Kankakee Coyotes are hosting a Skate-a-Thon Sunday for the Osterhoff family.
    It will be held at Ice Valley Ice Arena, 1601 River Road, Kankakee, IL 60901

    For all who cannot attend and are interested in donating:

    The Kankakee Coyotes will be accepting donations by mail at:

    Ice Valley Ice Arena
    ATTN: Tina Jackson, Coyotes President
    1601 River Rd
    Kankakee, IL 60901

    In the note field of your check write: Osterhoff family
    Make checks payable to: Kankakee Coyotes

    You may visit the Coyotes page on Facebook.

  3. Special thanks to everyone who participated in honoring Cale’s memory in some way — from area youth hockey organizations all the way to the Chicago Blackhawks. To see more examples of the beautiful tributes, check out the Kankakee Coyotes Facebook Page, but keep a box of tissues near.
    The hockey community is a passionate one; and the spirit is incredible.

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