For 7 years I was able to call Andrew Carroll my friend, for a few years before that he was ‘coach,’ and as a kid Andrew was an idol. He was an idol I looked at in awe as I did at the entire Roseville Raider high school hockey team from 2001-2003. As a young kid I looked at those guys like they were pros. Andrew was a key component of those team but not always the guy I watched. My eyes were usually focused on my cousin Brandon or one of Sertich brothers. I would sit and smile at all the amazing plays those guys would make. But as I would find out later, Andrew Carroll was the one I should’ve been watching the entire time.
For those who had the chance to watch Andrew play hockey they knew he was a hard worker. For those that saw him off the ice knew that he was a ‘really’ hard worker. And for those that had the chance to train with Andrew know the he was an ‘extremely’ hard worker. As a kid I only knew who Andrew was. But as I grew older I was fortunate enough to meet Andrew on a more personal level. And in the past seven years our relationship grew faster than his self proclaimed “Quadzillas” would after running hills at Parkview Elementary!
By no means were Andrew an I best friends that talked every day. There are way more people out there that were closer to Andrew than I. But I guarantee, similar to every single one of those people I was inspired just by the fact of being a friend of Andrew’s. I owe all the credit to the McCann brothers just for allowing me the opportunity to meet Andrew. Jake, Tommy and Riley, thank you. From all the skates in the backyard to 6:00am workouts at Bethel, not only did I get to hangout with you guys but we all got the chance to hangout with Andrew.
The Carroll I knew was probably the same Carroll that everyone knew. Always the hardest worker, a true competitor, a great leader and the perfect friend. My experience with Andrew as a friend was short. Although 10 years separate us in age it never felt like it. His youthfulness that brought so many joy is something that you wish everyone could have.
The first time I really got to work with Andrew was during those 6:00am workouts in the Bethel weight room. Me, Tommy McCann and a Riley McCann would hop on our bikes from their house and make the trek towards the University hoping to beat Andrew there… it rarely happened. He would ride in on his bike as well and if he even saw us with the slightest chance to beat him to the doors you bet he was gonna find a way to win the race. It didn’t matter if we were in middle school and he was a pro hockey player, no matter what he was gonna try and beat us. A competitiveness that could not be beat.
From that point on and for summers to follow I didn’t just gain a friend I found a role model. After seeing the way he worked and how he interacted with other people I quickly realized that the right way to do something is the exact way Andrew Carroll was doing it. There were so many things I learned about how to be a great person like Andrew was. And all those things could be learned just by being around him. He was a great person every day of the week in every hour of the day.
I specifically remember the summer of 2014 after my senior year of high school. After learning so much about the game of hockey from Andrew as an instructor in camps growing up, I finally had the chance to coach alongside him. I continued to learn from Andrew while coaching alongside him, this time more about character. Before that summer I thought I knew everything one needed to know to be a good leader, Andrew changed that quick. Coaching alongside him made me realize just how good of a leader Andrew really was. He was so dedicated to making the young hockey players better while building personal relationships with them. You could see that all the players were comfortable going to Andrew with questions. He responded in a productive but lighthearted way that really showed me the best way to connect with someone, whether is be a young player, a teammate or even just a friend. Although I was supposed to be coaching on the same level as him I still looked up to him as a role model. There was always something to learn in terms of bettering yourself when around Andrew.
The Andrew Carroll that I knew is probably the same one just about everyone who had met him knew. He treated everyone the same way. Everything he did could inspire someone to be like him. Andrew was a guy that could make you work harder than you had ever worked before, because he was doing the same. He could make you love the game of hockey more than you ever could love a game, because he was doing the same. And he could inspire you to make a difference in the life of every person you have ever met, because he was doing the same. Andrew Carroll will always be remembered as a man of great character and a leader among his peers. He has inspired so many to chase their dreams.
I have been lucky enough in my life to call Andrew Carroll my friend, a tremendous coach, and still to this day… a role model.
Andrew, I wish everyone would have had the chance to know you on even just the smallest of levels, because I know you would have impacted their lives the same you have mine.
To a great hockey player, a great leader and an even better friend… may you Rest In Peace!