OHL prospect to be celebrated with game

MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:10 AM ET

The celebration of Ian Jenkins’ life begins Friday.

That’s what the young hockey player’s family hopes this weekend turns into, a celebration of a life.

Jenkins, 15, died Monday of head injuries sustained when he fell from a pickup truck last Thursday near his home in Ypsilanti, Mich.

He was a promising U.S. goaltender drafted in the second round by the London Knights.

In an effort to help everyone deal with the tragedy and leave a lasting legacy as a memorial to Jenkins, his funeral will have a major hockey component to it and his family will start a foundation called the Big E Foundation. Big E was Jenkins’ nickname when he played.

Most of the funeral activities will take place in Plymouth, Mich.

Visitation Friday will be followed Saturday by the memorial service.

The Jenkins family has requested that hockey players attending the service wear their hockey jerseys.

After the service, a celebration hockey game will be held with full equipment at Compuware Arena, the home of the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.

“It started when we were all sitting around and Ian’s right there and they were trying to figure out what the best way was for these young kids to deal with this,” said Mike Hamilton, his coach for six years. “His mom Gloria said, ‘There’s only one way we all know how and one way Ian knows how and it’s the best way for these kids to move forward and that’s put them on the ice.’ ”

The idea took flight in a big way.

Everyone who participates will get a sweater with Jenkins’ No. 35 on the back, Big E and the Knights logo on the front. Also on the front will be the motto Jenkins operated by: Have a purpose.

Several games could be played depending on the number of players who want to participate.

Any used equipment brought to the rink will be given to the less fortunate.

Hamilton said the response has been astonishing.

“It’s huge,” he said. “I’ve had probably requests from 300 players who want to take part. It’s become a huge news story.

“This is really part of the wake. Rather than send everybody home in tears, let’s put them on ice, let them start talking, telling stories and begin the healing process.”

In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations to the Big E Foundation.

Memorial events

Visitation: Friday, 2 p.m.-9 p.m., Vermeulen Funeral Home, 46401 W. Ann Arbor Rd. Plymouth, Mich.

Memorial Service: Saturday, 9 a.m.-11 a.m. Northridge Church, 49555 N. Territorial Rd. Plymouth.

Celebration Games: Saturday, 2 p.m., Compuware Arena, 14900 North Beck Road, Plymouth.

Big E Foundation: Mike Hamilton, 459 Belanger, Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.


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