The score was 5-3. But those aren’t the numbers that matter.
True, the Winona Senior High School hockey team lost to the Faribault Falcons in a Big 9 Conference game on Saturday that could have section seeding implications. But that is not what will be remembered.
Instead, what will live on in the hearts of those who were there is the way the two programs came together to help a 3-month-old boy in his battle with cancer.
“Story of my life,” Winona coach Fran McDevitt said.
Saturday’s game also served as a fundraiser for the family of a former hockey player. Austin and Allie Bauer’s son, Bowdenn, was diagnosed with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), an infection that could cause significant issues in newborns. A few weeks later, his mother noticed he was turning blue and wasn’t breathing. He was taken by ambulance to Children’s Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where a CT scan revealed a mass on his chest and throat that is restricting his airway. A biopsy revealed that it was cancerous. Bowdenn is undergoing chemotherapy treatment for the next couple months to shrink the tumor. Once it is small enough, doctors will surgically remove it.
Saturday’s game featured free admission with a donation of $5 or more, plus there were #BattleWithBowdenn wristbands for sale.
The teams came together for a ceremony before the game, and the fundraising totals were announced to a shocked audience. Together, the teams raised $4,200 to help the family with medical expenses, with $1,200 coming from the Winhawk family alone.
To a family they never met. From a conference “rival.”
A friend of the family emailed WSHS activities director Casey Indra and principal Mark Anderson to express his thanks.
“We were at the game today in Faribault and witnessed incredible sportsmanship and generosity from the Winona team,” he wrote. “Hockey is a game. Life is not. My family wishes nothing but the best for all parties involved — players, coaches, parents and student-athlete leaders.
“You should be very proud of your team.”
Another fan tweeted: “@WinhawksBoysHky class act all the way. Our family appreciates your support, thank you from the bottom of my heart.”
An online campaign has raised more than $25,000 for the family.
You are also invited to show your support for the Winhawks hockey program, which has three home games remaining this season — at 7:15 p.m. Thursday against Black River Falls, at 2 p.m. Saturday against Austin (hopefully an outdoor game), and at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, February 13, against Rochester Century.