The United States youth hockey system lost one of its brightest stars on Friday, when it was announced that 15-year-old goaltending phenom Ian Jenkins had died. As the Detroit Free Press reported, Jenkins was taken off life support, after suffering a severe head injury that was caused when the Milan (Mich.) High School student fell out of the back of a pickup truck and hit his head on the pavement.
"We are obviously as a school district and a community and as individuals grieving with the Jenkins family over the loss of Ian," Milan Area Schools Supt. Bryan Girbach told the the Monroe News. "He was a good student. He was very well-liked."
Jenkins was already on his way to playing at the next level. He had already been drafted in the second round by the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights, and after signing with the Knights on Wednesday, was planning to attend mini-camp last Saturday with his new team.
"Ian was a great kid. He was super athletic. He was a very quiet kid, just did everything he was asked to do," Adam Gilles, one of Jenkins' teachers a Milan, told the Detroit News. "You would never know he was the No. 1-ranked goaltender. He never talked about himself like that. It's so sad … so disappointing. It's the fourth student from here to die this year."
Jenkins was already a big part of the U.S. Hockey system, and had already separated himself from the rest of his high school peers as one of the best goaltenders in the country. The Scouting News website had this glowing review on the 15-year-old: "The most effective 1995 goalie playing in the USA Hockey system could very well be Ian Jenkins."