He is one of them

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Down syndrome doesn’t keep Sam from being one of the guys on the Moorhead boys hockey team

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Sam Beedy, top, is a team manager with the Moorhead High School hockey team along with team manager Cooper Czichotzki seated at left. Players include Sam’s younger brother Jake Beedy, Carter Howell and Cole O’Connell.
Dave Wallis / The Forum

Todd and Jackie Beedy had to wait a week for the results of blood tests to tell them their first-born son, Sam, had Down syndrome. During the wait, they read as much material as they could.

They also did what all good parents do. They worried.

« You think about all the things they’re not going to be able to do and how they’re going to be different because you don’t know any better, » Jackie said.

They never imagined 18 years later Sam would be a Moorhead High School Homecoming King, adored by football, hockey and baseball players. They never imagined they’d be walking through the grocery store and countless people they didn’t know would be saying hello to Sam.

« Through the years, it hasn’t been about what he can’t do, » Jackie said. « It’s about all the things he can do. »

That was evident early when it came to sports.

Todd simply didn’t think Sam playing hockey was going to work. He had read children with Down syndrome didn’t like restrictive clothing like pads or a helmet or strange material like a mouth guard.

They had tried Sam skating at around the age of 4, but Sam enjoyed the attention from the girls at the lessons far more than the actual skating. Driving home from work to pick up Sam for his first practice around the age of 6, Todd knew he was going to have to fight with Sam to get all his pads on. Todd was wrong.

« I came home and he had all his pads on and his mouth guard in, » Todd said.

Eventually, Sam couldn’t keep playing with his teammates and friends like Carter Howell or Cole O’Connell or his younger brother, Jake, when checking began. In order to find a way to stay with his friends, Sam became a manager of the hockey team last season through Spud team manager Cooper Czichotzki. Czichotzki grew up with Sam, meeting him when he was 5 through hockey.

« There’s not a day I don’t laugh when the kid is around, » Czichotzki said. « He makes the atmosphere more fun. After a tough loss, he can cheer up the locker room. »

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