Blake Wins Championship in Honor of Late Coach

Created: 02/23/2013 7:40 PM KSTP.com By: Mitch Pittman

The Blake girls hockey team was playing for much more than the state 1A title Saturday afternoon.

Their coach from last season passed away from a stroke a year ago, leaving them with heavy hearts on the ice as they came into the game as underdogs.

Their opponent was Warroad, a team they lost to 12-3 earlier in the season. But this game wasn't for revenge, it wasn't for the eight seniors. It was for 'Brano.'

The team's coach of 14 years, Brano Stankovsky, passed away last spring from a stroke at age 56. He left his last message to the team on a white board, "If you're not gonna go all the way, why go at all?"

The team embraced those words this year and went all the way for their old coach, beating Warroad 7-2.

"They played such a tribute to Brano, they did it for him," said Margret Stankovsky, Brano's widow. "He was here, he was here for them. He was so proud of them. This was his team, and he loved them dearly."