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Maumee Hockey Forever: Panthers lose one of their own

In 2019, Tyler Ruch scored a goal in his first varsity hockey game for the Maumee Panthers. He overcame incredible odds in life. Over the weekend, Tyler passed away.

MAUMEE, Ohio — Tyler "Buzzy" Ruch was the Maumee Hockey team manager. But truly, he was so much more. 

Being able to dress in a varsity hockey game is something that his family probably never envisioned. 

In his short life, he had 22 different surgeries. He had cerebral palsy. A congenital heart defect. And at birth, he was born premature and weighed just 2 pounds. 

Before one practice in Dec. 2019, his teammates informed Tyler he'd be getting to play in a game for the first time. 

"I couldn't even sleep. I swear to God, I wanted to be on my phone all night," Tyler said.

Eventually, Tyler managed to sleep a little bit. And then, the kid who's overcome all the odds got to live out a lifelong dream. 

Tyler started in his first ever game and you just had to know, he wouldn't waste much time getting involved. He scored his only varsity goal while in the sled he used to play adaptive hockey.

When not involved with the Panthers, Tyler was a member of the Toledo Walleye Sled Hockey team. 

Always smiling on the ice and off, Tyler was a bright presence with an infectious personality.

Credit: Diane Woodring/WTOL
Tyler Ruch, pictured right, during a charity game between the Toledo Walleye Sled Hockey team and Toledo Rockets hockey in 2018.

Tyler Ruch passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 1. He was 19.

His parents gave WTOL this statement: “Tyler was many things: a medical miracle, a hockey and baseball player, a Lego master, a tech loving kid, with an awesome smile, a loving heart, and a passion for life. 

He is dearly missed. 

Buzzy, we love you to the moon and back. To infinity and beyond! 

-Dad, Mom, and Toby”

A GoFundMe has been established to help cover funeral expenses. Maumee Hockey is also doing a fundraiser through Jan. 12 selling shirts honoring Tyler that can be purchased here, with proceeds going to his family.

Credit: University of Toledo Athletics