Way too young to die…

A sad story from the Western Hockey League, as it was announced in various media outlets including the Edmonton Journal and Edmonton Sun the passing of 17 years old Prince George Cougar’s Michael Fogolin. If the name sound familiar he is the son of former Edmonton Oilers captain Lee Fogolin.

from www.pgcougars.com

Cougars Mourn Passing of Michael Fogolin

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The Prince George Cougars are deeply saddened to report the sudden passing of defenseman Michael Fogolin on May 26, 2004. Mike was a valued part of the Cougars family and a cherished friend and team mate to all those who were fortunate enough to know him. He will be deeply missed.

Out of respect for the Fogolin family at this difficult time, please direct all inquiries to Cougars General Manager Dallas Thompson @ (250) 960-8895, or (250) 613-3048.

A Memorial service will be held Tuesday June 1 @ 10:00am at St. Joseph’s Basilica in Edmonton, which is located at 10044- 113 St. and Jasper Ave. Condolences can be sent to pgcougars_mikefogolin@yahoo.ca. All emails will be directed to the family of Michael Fogolin.

Once again we extend our thoughts and prayers to the family of Michael Fogolin.

(taken from TSN.ca)

EDMONTON (CP) – Michael Fogolin, a rising young hockey player who died overnight Wednesday, always dreamed of the NHL – but never more so than after last fall’s Heritage Classic when he saw his famous father play in an Oilers jersey.

“It only got fuelled more by the Heritage Classic when Mike was able to see his dad play live for the first time,” Dallas Thompson, general manager of the Prince George Cougars, Fogolin’s Western Hockey League team, said Thursday.

“That’s where Mike wanted to be.”

Fogolin’s father, Lee, was a much-loved member of the classic 1980s Oilers teams that included stars such as Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier and Jari Kurri.

Lee Fogolin was the team’s captain from 1981 to 1983 before handing the `C’ to Gretzky. He won Stanley Cups with the Oilers in 1984 and 1985.

That team was reunited in Edmonton last November for a nostalgic outdoor game against former Montreal Canadiens stars such as Guy Lafleur. The game was watched by 50,000 cold but happy fans.

One of them was Michael Fogolin.

The Cougars were in Spokane, Wash., that weekend. He had planned to watch the game on TV, but an injury kept him off the ice and he was able to fly home to Edmonton and follow his dad around.

“He said it was an eye-opener,” said Thompson. “He got to go into the dressing room and there was Wayne Gretzky there and all the old stars and (Mike) ate it up.

“That was what Mike was about and that’s where he wanted to be some day.”

The cause of death was not immediately determined but early reports said he may have had a heart condition. Autopsy results aren’t expected for two to four months.

Fogolin died in bed after spending a quiet evening at his Edmonton home with his parents and his older brother Rory, a former Alberta Junior Hockey League player.

The 17-year-old defenceman didn’t need much fuel for his fire.

“The burning desire to be a player was so big in Mike,” Thompson said. “He knew what he wanted and went out to get it.”

That desire is part of what drew the Cougars to draft Fogolin at age 14.

Cracking a WHL lineup is a steep challenge for any five-foot-11, 170-pound teen. But Thompson said Fogolin’s desire set him apart.

“It was a big transition for him. He worked very hard and was very attentive to his coaches.

“When Mike was a healthy scratch he was mad. When he found out he wasn’t playing, he’d be down at the gym after school working out till the game was on and then he’d watch and learn from the game.”

Fogolin played 42 games on defence with the Cougars this year. He scored two goals and added three assists with 35 minutes in penalties. He missed time during the season with hand, wrist and knee injuries.

But stats don’t tell the story of Fogolin’s game, Thompson said.

“He did everything at a very high tempo and he worked very hard out there. He was an excellent skater and could handle the puck and looked able to play in every situation,” he said.

“And if he ever caught a guy with his head down, he was going to make him pay. There was just so much upside to him.”

Numbers don’t say anything about who Fogolin was as a person either, said Thompson, who had Fogolin live in his home for a couple weeks last December.

“I’m going to remember Mike as a caring, caring person. He was very unselfish and mature beyond his age and a joy to be around. We’re going to miss him very much.”

R.I.P., Michael Fogolin

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