Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois Johnson
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Lilya ranked first in goals, assists, plays on championship team


The Junior Wild wins the championship trophy at the 2014 National Disabled Hockey Festival in Boston on April 13. Twelve-year-old Danny Lilya of Moose Lake is a team member.

Danny Lilya, 12, of Moose Lake helped the Minnesota Sled Association's youth team, the Junior Wild, win the championship trophy at the 2014 National Disabled Hockey Festival in Boston on Sunday, April 13.

Danny's father, Dan Lilya, is the assistant coach of the team and described the three-day tournament weekend in a recent telephone interview.

"We arrived in Boston on Thursday, April 10," he said. "The actual tournament took place in Marlboro, about 30 miles from Boston, at the New England Sports Center.

"It's a huge complex, with six or eight sheets of ice," said Dan. "The team won its first game on Friday with a score of 10-2."

Father and son had a chance to visit Fenway Park that afternoon.

The second game was played early Saturday morning.

"Danny played like I haven't seen him play all season," said Dan. "He got four goals and had three assists. We played Palmyra from Pennsylvania."

After a four-hour break, the Minnesota team played a New Hampshire team and won 4-0.

But by Sunday, Danny had another problem.

Danny Lilya with his individual trophy after his team won a national championship in Boston.

"About 2 a.m. Danny woke up and he was sick," said Dan. "I gave him some options. He could play or sit the game out. He decided to grit it out.

"We played New Hampshire again, and Danny got another goal and two more assists. We won the championship. It was surreal, a boy that age winning the championship when he was so sick."

Dan said, by the time they flew home, Danny was feeling better.

The Lilyas bring Danny to Richfield every Sunday to practice with the Minnesota sled hockey team. A core group of the players from the team participated with the team that won the championship. They were joined by a player from Fargo, North Dakota, and two others from Madison, Wisconsin.

Danny was presented an individual trophy, and the team was presented with a team trophy. Danny was individually ranked first place of any youth from all the divisions for points (goals and assists).


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