The Michigan Gray Wolves experienced a tragedy this week. Rocco Montoya, 47, the Wolves’ biggest fan and close friend of the whole team, got into a boating accident on Lake Michigan this week and didn’t make it. The Gray Wolves were in mourning this week, sad at the loss of their loyal and kind fan. We spoke to the team’s star player , G Dirk “The Bear” Lundquist.
SHL Digest: We are very sad to hear about Rocco’s passing.
Dirk Lundquist: Me too. He really was our “rock,” as his name suggests. It will be a rough time for us to not have him cheering us on in the stands.
SHLD: Yeah, but he is now cheering you guys on from heaven.
DL: That’s right. From now on, whenever we play, we are playing for him. He was convinced that we were going to win the Vandy this year. If we do win, we’re going to raise it to the roof for Rocco.
SHLD: Are you doing anything special to honor him?
DL: Actually, yeah, we are. Starting at our next game and for the rest of the season, we are wearing a special orange emblem with Rocco’s initials on our sleeves. Orange was his favorite color.
SHLD: I am glad the SHL is letting you do something special for him.
DL: Same here. He really meant so much to all of us. We’re also putting up a banner at the entrance of Section 107, which is where he always sat, to commemorate him in a more permanent way.
SHLD: Rocco was almost a member of the team, huh?
DL: You could certainly say that. He was more than just a fan; he spent a lot of time with the guys and their families, too. We will never forget him.
SHLD: I am very glad to see that you guys are looking at it in a positive way. Remembering what he did for you guys, rather than focusing on him being gone.
DL: That’s how all of us are looking at it, I think. Except Coach [Ron Wright], he took it pretty hard. He knew Rocco way before the SHL got started. Believe it or not, Rocco was the one that got Coach to start coaching professionally.
SHLD: Oh wow. I didn’t know the full backstory. Thank you for talking to us about him.
DL: It is my pleasure. I am always willing to talk about our old friend.
The Gray Wolves are planning to hold a ceremony honoring Montoya before Friday night’s game against Dakota, when they will officially dedicate the banner that Lundquist mentioned. Rest in peace, Rocco Montoya.