By Mike Williamson
Chelsea Athletics and fans of Chelsea hockey are mourning the loss of former Chelsea Hockey great Drew Brown Saturday, November 11 after a long battle with cancer.
Brown is the all time leading scorer for the Bulldogs and holds most of the offensive records for Chelsea. He holds the top spot with 100 goals and is second with 78 career assists. He scored a team record 57 goals in 2008/09 and was named the Ann Arbor player of the year and was All State.
“Drew was a great hockey player, but even a better person,” Chelsea hockey coach Don Wright said. “I tell a story about him to my players every year. Drew set the school scoring record his sophomore year and after the season I sat down with him and explained to him what he needed to do to improve. A lot of players would just blow it off and not listen after the season they had just had. Not Drew, he went out and practiced even harder and went out his junior year and shattered his own scoring record.”
Brown went to college at the University of Providence and was excelling with the Friars when he injured his leg his junior season in 2014.
After struggling with the injury, an MRI revealed a suspicious mass and it was determined that he had Ewing Sarcoma, a rare cancer of the leg bone.
Over the next year, Drew received chemo and surgery on his femur to remove the tumor. That year had many ups and downs for him. Brown put his hockey career on hold, while his Friar teammates, inspired by Drew, went on to win the National Championship in 2015. He was able to attend the Frozen Four and celebrate on the ice with his teammates when the won the title. Brown went back to Providence College to finish his college career as an assistent student coach for the hockey team and received a Bachelors of Science degree in 2016.
After a short time of being well, Brown had a relapse in early 2017 and it was diagnosed that the cancer had spread to his lungs.
He spent his last few months at his parents home in Grass Lake, where his parents Duke and Sandy Brown and his fiancee Michelle Danko took care of him.
The Providence hockey team had planned a fundraiser for Brown and his family for Saturday night, with all the proceeds from the game going to the GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/dropping-the-mitts-for-drew-brown set up to help with medical bills, but with his passing the proceeds will go to Browns family to help with his funeral costs.
Providence Hockey Coach Nate Leaman released a statement “Our program mourns the passing of Drew Brown early this morning.” “Drew touched everyone with whom he came into contact with his energy, his smile and his big heart. Drew was a thoughtful, soft-spoken teammate who would do anything for his team. Drew showed amazing courage in his battle with cancer. Our Friar family will miss him dearly. With the support of one another, we will find strength to honor Drew.”
It was fitting that in the game the Friars dedicated to Brown Saturday night that Providence scored seven goals in a 7-2 win. Brown wore #7 while playing at Providence.
The Friars have kept a locker for Brown with his jersey hanging in it and hung his #7 jersey on the bench with them for Saturday nights game.
Brown had moved back to Michigan and had began helping coach the Bulldogs and over the summer and fall and was going to be an assistant coach behind the Bulldogs bench this season. He had been helping until he became ill again.
“The players and I were really excited to have him on the staff,” Wright said. “It will be really hard on everyone.”
Funeral Service will be Tuesday, November 14, 1:00pm at the Faith Baptist Church in Chelsea. Expressions of sympathy may be made to the Brown Family.
Chelsea pictures provided by Burrill Strong. Providence pictures from Providence Hockey Twitter feed.