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The Saint Mary's University Men's Hockey team with Logan Kelm

Members of the Saint Mary’s University men’s hockey team pose with Logan Kelm during the Skate for Logan fundraiser on Oct. 16.

WINONA, Minn. — The Saint Mary’s University men’s hockey team held their first annual Brian McCarthy leadership retreat, and from the looks of things, this event is going to be a big success for years to come.

The team spent Oct. 16-18 in Onalaska, Wis., where they hosted the fundraiser Skate for Logan and participated in the Brian McCarthy leadership retreat. 

Skate for Logan was a fundraising event to raise money for Logan Kelm, a young boy from Holmen, Wis., diagnosed with Congenital Muscular Dystrophy Merosin Deficient, a condition that restricts his ability to eat, breathe, and walk, and confines him to a wheelchair. 

As Logan is a massive hockey fan, the Cardinals hosted the event to fundraise for his upcoming surgeries. And the event was a grand success. 

“I think there were a couple of hundred people, great support from the community, and I’m fairly confident we raised thousands of dollars,” said Ryan Egan, head men’s hockey coach. “But most importantly, Logan and his family had a great time.”

Not only was the team able to greatly aid in the cost of Logan’s procedures, they provided him with extreme happiness ahead of his surgeries. 

“We were able to see Logan in the locker room, and we gave him his own Saint Mary’s jersey,” said Jackson Nauss, a senior on the team. “He lit up, it seemed like it was a really great experience for him.”

After the fundraiser, the Cardinals spent the next two days participating in the first annual Brian McCarthy leadership retreat. 

Created in honor of a 1979 Saint Mary’s hockey alumnus who recently passed, the Brian McCarthy leadership retreat will be an annual retreat for the men’s hockey team that aims to help members grow closer to the community and with each other.

And it certainly did.

To kick off the retreat, the team attended a luncheon and met with friends and family of Brian McCarthy, who then spoke to the team about McCarthy’s legacy and connection to hockey. 

Nauss said that for him, the luncheon was the most impactful part of the retreat.

“It gave perspective, thinking about how lucky we are to have what we have,” said Nauss. “From what we heard, Brian was a fiery guy, so this is what he wanted, to build people who have good character and are going to fight for what they believe is right.” 

In addition to the luncheon, the team took part in discussion questions, games, and heard from guest speaker John Tschida, head coach of the Saint Mary’s softball team.

Tschida spoke to the Cardinals about leadership, mental coaching, and something he calls “stinkin’ thinkin’.” 

“It was mental coaching, both about sports and about life, being able to put things in the past and bridging the gaps between where you are and where you want to be,” said Nauss. 

Freshman Luke Ciolli thought that the retreat was a great opportunity for the team to grow closer together, not just as fellow athletes but as friends outside of hockey. 

“The retreat really allowed us to develop relationships with each other, so it’s more than just ‘I see these guys at the rink and we play together,’” said Ciolli. “We have friendships and relationships on and off the ice.” 

Looking to the future, the team plans to continue engaging with the community and building their leadership skills with each other, courtesy of the retreat. Ciolli is looking forward to continuing to grow the hockey program and strengthen team values. 

“It’s good to be around that environment, and spend that time to grow and develop yourself and each other,” said Ciolli.

The retreat was able to provide the team with perspective. They bonded over hockey and got to know each other on a personal level. Egan believes every player on the team is a man of character and that the retreat will continue to serve as an outlet to develop that character. 

“The opportunity that our alums have given us to go on this retreat, it’s very unique,” said Egan. “Things like this are reasons why a lot of the guys are here.” 

It’s obvious that this retreat will continue to inspire the men’s hockey team for many coming years, just the way Brian McCarthy would have wanted it to.