Boy with Marfan Syndrome Creates Hometown Hockey Tournament

Tags: Currents Children, Faith, Family, Inspiration, Media, Sports, Youth

By Monica Guy

A 12-year-old with a rare medical condition was frustrated he couldn’t play organized hockey with his friends.  So, he decided to start his own neighborhood league instead

Grow up in a state where little more than a puddle is an invitation to skate….and fate can sometimes be cruel. Owen Lipinski is a hockey fanatic. 

“It kind of makes me feel sad, you know?” Owen said.

His parents feel his pain.

“He is,” Becky Lipinski said.

 “Marfan syndrome is a connective tissue disorder,” said Kelly Lipinski.

Diagnosed at the age of two with Marfan, Owen was warned that as he grew, that a hard blow could leave him blind, or worst case, threaten his life.

“My body’s kind of…it’s not as strong as most other people’s,” Owen said.

Playing for Minnesota Special Hockey has been fun, but Owen wanted more.

“You know, I don’t understand why I can’t,” he said. “I just want to be part of a regular team.”

One day, Owen walked up to a hockey player’s doorstep and asked him if he could play. Skaters and fans all started to get excited. 

What else could this be?

“A hockey tournament,” Owen said.

Six teams were recruited from his neighborhood. One little brother was appointed as the referee and Owen, with his goalie dreams, is in the net for every game.

“He’s the ultimate goalie as he calls himself,” Kelly said.

Owen came up with the teams and designed their logos. He even sold raffle tickets to pay for their jerseys. Now, he’s safely surrounded by friends when he plays, and all are aware of his condition.

Parents keep close watch after finding themselves recruited too.

“It’s something he can do with his friends and probably feel a little bit more like he’s part of a team,” Becky said.

While the parents were once unsure of how their son would cope with his diagnosis, they keep watching as Owen puts their worries on ice.