Smouse legacy lives on at Penn State Behrend
TribLIVE Sports Videos
The late Nolan Smouse never failed to leave an impression on the people he met.
“The kid who lived across the hall came up to me,” said Nolan's mother, Sharon. “He said, ‘I got my (hair) braid, just like Nolan.' ”
Something as simple as recreating a hairstyle Smouse wore briefly — as his mom put it, “just because” — was one of the tributes by friends over the past few months.
But one took it step further to honor the former Kittanning hockey standout.
Penn State Behrend staged a memorial hockey game May 25 for Smouse, one of its rising stars who died from injuries suffered in a vehicle accident May 1. He was 20 and a sophomore at Behrend.
The program also retired his jersey number (13).
The game against Robert Morris was played at Mercyhurst Ice Center, where Behrend plays home games. The Lions won 5-4 in overtime.
“Everybody (with the team) was devastated (to lose Smouse),” said former Behrend coach Ed Maras, who now coaches at Gannon. “To have this kind of accident happen to him was a tragedy. It's not fair.”
Sharon Smouse was taken aback by the outpouring of support.
“They could not have done anything more,” she said. “They had flowers for me, and they put his jersey in a shadow box. All of the players for Robert Morris wore 13 on their helmets.”
On the ice, Smouse's impact wasn't apparent at first, but as time went on, it became more evident.
“He really grew as this quiet kid who didn't say much to one of those guys who everyone was waiting for him to say something that was hilarious,” Maras said. “It was always funny when he'd show up with this goofy outfit and his teeth out. He went from a quiet kid to a big part of the team.”
Smouse had lost five of his front teeth in an earlier dirt bike accident.
Because they play for a club team, Behrend players must pay for their equipment. It was a simple phone call regarding Nolan's jersey that sprung the ceremony.
“We said we wanted the jersey, and we'd pay for it,” Sharon said. “Someone called back and said they wanted to retire his number.”
Just about everyone in attendance wore his number.
“(Students) had sold T-shirts. They had his name and number on the back,” Sharon said. “Nolan had a tattoo that said ‘Let it Be' on his chest. That was on every chest (of the T-shirts). It was like a blackout there. I couldn't believe it.”
The tributes even go beyond hockey.
The team's golf outing, held in September, was renamed the Smouse Cup.
“He would have relished it. He loved people, and he loved being around people. He wouldn't have been able to believe it,” Sharon said. “That's the sad part about it. He would have enjoyed it the most.”
Dave Yohe is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Distracted Steelers show nothing in loss to Eagles
- Records: Steelers RB Bell admitted smoking pot before traffic stop but denied being high
- Indiana Township police on lookout for loose alligator
- Utility regulator seeks $639,000 in penalties from electric supplier
- Rossi: Time with Penguins taught Bylsma importance of stability
- NFL could delay punishment
- Drills put police, teachers in danger zone
- Pitcairn police department to carry Narcan for heroin overdoses
- Man, woman sought in PNC robbery in Uniontown
- Youngwood shelter removes 44 dogs, 9 cats from shuttered Fayette SPCA
- Beth-Center wants to get ‘monkey of its back’