Niagara-Wheatfield community mourns student athlete, hope to bring home a state championship for him on Sunday
His name was Michael Ziegler and he was one of those kids. The nice kid. The sweet kid. The athletic kid. The popular kid.
Michael Ziegler is being mourned by his community. The kid classmates called, Ziggy – died tragically a few days ago. A friend of Mike’s, who didn’t want his name used, told me he was special, “Ziggy was a great kid. A great friend. He knew what it took to get things done. He was a hard worker and did whatever it took to make himself better. He was my friend and he was kind. So many of us will miss him. We have to be strong for each other. He would want it that way.”
It seems they are being strong; leaning on one another. On a snowy Friday night, hundreds showed up, stood side-by-side in the bitter cold and snow at a candlelight vigil. This photograph is heartbreaking, you can almost feel their sorrow. The still of the night. The beauty. The heartbreak.
The vigil was just one way to pay tribute to the beloved Niagara-Wheatfield high school junior.
Just a day later, on Saturday, the Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons took to the ice, many of the players were emotional, still heartbroken at the loss of their friend. But they played hard and won. The team honored Michael Ziegler with helmet stickers with his initials, “MZ” on them.
Now, they’re hoping to win their first-ever state title on Sunday afternoon. A championship game with so much riding on it. They want to win for their school. They want to win for their community. But mostly, they want to win for their friend, Ziggy.
Zack Belter, a friend and teammate with Ziegler on the lacrosse team, said it’s an important game, “A️ win tomorrow would be huge. The community will not be the same without such a fun loving kid like Mike. It’s great to see everyone coming together at the candle lighting to support the family and I️ think it’d be great to honor such a great athlete like Ziggy with a state championship”
Sentiments other players feel as well,
A gofundme page has been set up for the Ziegler family. https://www.gofundme.com/the-ziegler-family
Photo courtesy: David Yarger – here is an article he wrote for WNY Papers.com
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