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A Life Taken too Soon

Wednesday, 11.30.2011 / 11:07 PM
By Bill Roose - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com / The Wheel Deal
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The Wheel Deal
A Life Taken too Soon

DAVID MANNINO - 1993-2011
While many of his peers on the Red Wings’ ice crew are often shy, not-so talkative teenagers, Dave Mannino was the complete opposite.

There wasn’t an ounce of bashfulness in him. And that’s what you first noticed most when meeting Dave. He was just an openly-friendly teen with a gregarious and unflappable personality.

He made you laugh, and he made you think, whether it was about hockey, or the validity of pro wrestling or the rivalries of the sports teams in the Detroit Catholic High School League.

He had such a bright outlook on life.

Even when he discovered a lump on his right collarbone last April, and doctors told that it was acute lymphoblastic lymphoma, Dave remained upbeat and positive. Even when chemotherapy treatments kept him from attending senior prom at the University of Detroit Jesuit High School, and from walking the stage at graduation, he was optimistic.

Dave was an outstanding student-athlete. He earned all-state honors as a forward on the Cubs’ prep hockey team, carried a 4.2 grade point average in the classroom, and had been accepted at the University of Michigan.

Earlier this month Dave got a dose of great news when he learned that the cancer had gone in remission.

He was so excited to share the news with everyone during the Wings’ game against the Dallas Stars on Nov. 12. He ever sat in my office that Saturday night and chatted for 20 minutes, said he had one more major round of chemo starting on Monday and that he would return to the JLA ice crew by January.

He skated with his crew members that night, shoveled the ice during TV timeouts at the 14, 10 and 6-minute marks of each period. The chemo zapped his strength, and it took everything that he had to perform the on-ice duties that he loved to do so much.
 
Still, when we last saw him at The Joe, he assured us that he would return. He was a fighter, and there was no doubt that the future was as bright as his personality.

But this week the cancer took that promising future away.

Dave died Monday with his family at his side. He was 18-years-old.

He loved life and enjoyed people, and he especially liked annoying fellow ice crew members, Brittany and Maria. He was a fan of The Rock, the pro wrestler, and had a penchant for Puma athletic shoes and anything purple.

Al Sobotka, the building manager and Zamboni driver at JLA, oversees the ice crew and often kiddingly called Dave “Jay Leno” for his likeness to the late night comic.

Last Thursday, Dave sent Al Sobotka a text message. In it he wished the Red Wings’ Zamboni driver a Happy Thanksgiving, and finished the note with, “I look at you as my third grandfather”.

Dave is survived by his parents, Dr. Thomas and Annita; his brother Thomas Jr.; sister Andrea; grandmother Annita; and many loving aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.

A visitation will be held this Friday from 1-9 p.m. at McCabe Funeral Home, 31950 West 12 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, Mich. A funeral service is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at Brightmoor Christian Church, 40800 West 13 Mile Road, Novi, Mich.

Donations may be made to the foundation seventyk.org.

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