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Robert Morris

Former RMU hockey assistant Mark Workman dies from liver cancer

| Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2018, 7:30 p.m.
Robert Morris hockey players all wore the same name on the back of their jerseys as a tribute to former assistant coach Mark Workman, who is battling cancer.
Jennifer Hoffman
Robert Morris hockey players all wore the same name on the back of their jerseys as a tribute to former assistant coach Mark Workman, who is battling cancer.

Former Robert Morris men's hockey associate head coach Mark Workman lost his battle against liver cancer Wednesday. He died at age 47 near his home in Minnesota.

Workman was on Derek Schooley's coaching staff from 2009-16. After the 2016 season, he left RMU to become an amateur scout with the Vegas Golden Knights of the NHL. He was working in that role this season when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of bile duct cancer that eventually spread to his lungs.

Workman showed elevated liver enzyme levels in October and was given a diagnosis of cholangiocarcinoma in late December. He began chemotherapy in early January.

As an assistant, Workman did extensive coaching of the team's penalty kill. He was also the program's recruiting coordinator.

"He elevated the quality of athletes that we got," said Schooley. "Like any good coach, when you impact people, people are going to care."

Workman's former players expressed exactly how much they cared by taking to social media and expressing their sadness when news surfaced about his death.

Current members of the Colonials showed their support by wearing warm up jerseys with "Workman" on everyone's nameplate before Friday Night's game against RIT.

The Colonials will have a jersey with his name on it hanging over the bench for every game moving forward.

"It's always been a really strong relationship with 'Worky'," said Robert Morris senior Tim Moore. "That jersey hanging there. That nameplate. It means a lot to everyone in the room. It goes beyond hockey."

Before his arrival at RMU, Workman was also an assistant at Brown and Minnesota-Duluth.

"For a lot of kids, I think a coach can be like having another father figure," said Workman's younger brother, Eric. "I think Mark fit that bill for a lot of the kids that he coached."

The team plans to hold a moment of silence for Workman before its faceoff against Mercyhurst on Friday night at 7:05 at RMU Island Sports Center.

Tim Benz hosts the Steelers pregame show on WDVE and ESPN Pittsburgh. He is a regular host/contributor on KDKA-TV and 105.9 FM.

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