Hockey coach focused on state tournament while carrying weight of son’s suicide

If you’re the type to toss the sports section from the daily newspaper, you’ll miss a well-written and bittersweet story about a father who’s trying to press on after his son killed himself.

David Marvin is the coach of the undefeated Warroad Warriors, currently playing in Minnesota’s Class 1A girl’s hockey tournament at the Xcel Center in St. Paul.

“I try to hold it together pretty well with the girls, but they know,” Marvin tells the Star Tribune’s David LaVaque. “We’re in it together. Some of them have my son’s graduation photo on their phone case. To them, he was Marv. They loved him.”

His son, Max, 19, took his own life on Dec. 29 “with the deer rifle I gave him,” David tells the Strib. “He’d been a hunter all his life. We had no reason not to trust him. There were no signs. Max was someone you’d put in the least-likely category to take his life.”

That’s the paragraph that scares the hell out of every parent.

“We know it’s an issue, anxiety and depression,” Marvin said. “We’ve got to get it to a point where it’s like a broken leg. Something hurts, you go to the doctor. No one wants to talk about it; we expect kids to. But we’ve got to get to a point where if you’re hurting, you can say so without feeling bad or embarrassed.’’

About 1,500 attended his funeral. David says about 90 percent knew his son through hockey.

Warroad plays Proctor/Hermantown Friday at 1:30 p.m., just in case you needed someone to root for.

Related: Most U.S. teens see anxiety and depression as a major problem among their peers