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Brady Strong: Huge outpouring of support comes from many places

Feb. 17—TRAVERSE CITY — Support for Brady Lewis was visible almost everywhere Friday night at Howe Arena.

"Brady Strong" and "Praying for #19" shirts dotted the crowd, along with signs in the Traverse City West student section as the Titans played their first home game since Lewis was critically injured in a Feb. 9 road game against Cadillac.

"Some of our guys have really close connections with him," TC Central captain Devin Garner said after the Trojans' 5-3 win over West. "The community coming to support him is awesome."

Lewis underwent surgery last Saturday in Grand Rapids after suffering a neck fracture and spinal contusion from a head-first collision into the boards following a check from behind by a Cadillac player. He remains in the Intensive Care Unit at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids.

Word of Lewis' injury spread quickly after the incident at Wexford County Civic Arena. "We were actually in the middle of a game and after the game we were all emotionally shocked," Garner said. "You just have to hope for the best — and it sounds like he's coming out on top."

Players from TC West were not available for interviews. "Where we were Friday night and last week — to where we are Friday this week — is remarkable," TC West hockey coach Anthony Palumbo said. "What these kids did in seven days is really remarkable.

"As a group, parents, coaches, we couldn't be more proud of what they've accomplished in seven days."

Players for both TC teams displayed helmet stickers honoring Lewis.

The outpouring of support came from many places:

Five Grand Rapids Griffins players paid a surprise visit to Lewis in the hospital Thursday. Three players from the NHL's Las Vegas Knights sent him well-wishes videos. The Griffins and Ferris State University hockeys teams delivered Lewis autographed jerseys. Detroit Red Wings play-by-play announcer Ken Daniels sent Lewis a video.

"We continue to be amazed by the community support for Brady, especially the hockey community across the entire state," Brady's father Jim Lewis said.

At Wednesday's game between TC Central and Petoskey, the scoreboard display at Petoskey Ice Arena read all 19s.

TC West had a fundraiser to help the Lewis family with travel at the game, and the chuck-a-puck winner also donated the winnings to the Lewis family.

"The outpouring of support from the entire state of Michigan hockey community, from mites to NHL, has just been amazing," said West hockey parent Kristal Meyers. "The coaches and school have been awesome.

"They've done everything they can to make sure the boys are OK."

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