Zachary Bartz was a boy who lived a lifetime in just 11 years.
At the age of 19 months was diagnosed with his first brain tumor, which left him blind in one eye. He began a 9 year battle, fighting brain tumor after brain tumor, courageously underwent hundreds of chemotherapy's, 12 weeks of radiation and multiple surgeries. Although he didn't like it, he NEVER complained. He knew it was necessary in order for him to live. He wanted more than anything to live and to please God! He looked at life as a gift. He was grateful for EVERYTHING he was given in his life, ALWAYS saying "thank you.” He got the most out of life because he tried hard, he NEVER said "I can't,” but instead - "I will try." If he wanted to do something bad enough, he ALWAYS found a way to make it happen - even when the cancer spread to his leg and he could only walk with crutches, and even when he couldn't use his arm any longer, because of the pressure of the brain tumors.
Zac loved hockey, but could not play the sport, so instead, he cheered the players on, offered encouragement and advice, and most of all showed those around him, by example to - "Never give up!" He put other's first. He never felt sorry for himself or was ever jealous or mean to someone because they were better than he was at something. He congratulated them and just tried harder. He never left anyone out, but made everyone feel like they were his best friend.
This has become the "ZacStrong" Way!!!!
Zac Bartz lived his short life in the most inspirational and courageous manner possible. His everyday acts of kindness and encouragement changed the lives of all he came in contact with and many he never even met.
The sport of hockey allowed Zac to use his skills as a motivator and mentor to the players on the ice. The players reciprocated with pure grit. Year after year they improved their performance on the ice until Zac’s tragic passing the day before the opening game of the 2013-2014 season. The players didn’t stop there. Instead, they dedicated the season to Zac. The season is now recorded in the history books as the greatest season in Chisago Lakes Hockey History. The team was undefeated at home and earned a berth into the state tournament for the first time in 19 years.
The Zachary Bartz Award will be given to the player who goes above and beyond what is expected of a player. This athlete best displays the finest qualities of teamwork, motivator, mentor and friend.
Good luck and play Zacstrong!
Due to the dissolution of the Jake Paranteau award, this award is an opportunity for our Hockey Wildcats to be noticed for their positive behavior both on and off the ice. Based on the amazing life Zac lived with his strong spirit, it is the Association’s opportunity to recognize those players who display the qualities Zac held dear:
Courage, Strength, Bravery, Humility, Faith, and Love
The goal of this program is to encourage our players to feel pride in not only the goals they score, but the behavior they show as Wildcats. Because most of our players knew Zac, they can be proud to be compared to their friend.
The program will work as follows:
1. Each Sunday a player will be picked by the coach based on their behavior from the previous week's practices and games.
2. At the next team meeting with the team the coach will present the player with a sticker for their helmet and explain what it was that earned them the sticker.
3. Near the end of the Varsity season we will ask your teams to vote for the person on their team who they feel most embodied the “Zac” qualities throughout the season.
4. The players voted to be ZacStrong for each team will be submitted to the board for vote.
5. The player determined by the board to be most deserving will be honored at a Varsity game for their season.
Thank you for participating in the Zac Strong Award. If you choose to NOT participate in the program, please return the stickers to Lisa Stangl or Diana Bjorkman.
Have an amazing season!
The Pride Committee