Last Friday night, just prior to their matchup, the lights dimmed and the No. 5 Michigan and Lake Superior State hockey teams lined up on their respective sides of the ice for a shared moment of silence.
It was a solemn moment, but it also served as a clear reminder of what the Wolverines were playing for this past weekend. They weren’t just playing for themselves, or glory, or their future careers; they were playing for the memory of their longtime equipment supervisor — and friend — Ian Hume, who had sadly passed away the night before after a battle with cancer.
In every play on the ice after that moment of silence, it was clear that Hume’s presence was still with his team. After two dominant performances in which Michigan both swept and outscored the Lakers, 10-3, Hume was top of mind for many of the Wolverines’ players and staff postgame, and his memory had only served to push them further.
“He was a huge part of this organization,” junior defenseman Jacob Truscott said. “ … He was great to us, and obviously it’s sad to see someone like that go. He’s a huge part of our team. We’ve just got to honor him and keep playing for him every game.”
From conversations with players and staff one thing is clear: Hume’s impact will be felt far past his 33-year tenure at the University of Michigan. For starters, it’s clear that he was an expert at his job. After quite literally stumbling into the role under long-time coach Red Berenson, Hume spent the next three decades honing his craft. And his dedication to his work didn’t go unnoticed.
“I’ve known (Hume) for a long time,” Michigan coach Brandon Naurato told The Daily. “ … And he’s a legend, very well respected by equipment managers from pro hockey to college.”
Freshman forward Adam Fantilli shared a similar sentiment.
“He was an amazing guy,” Fantilli said. “An amazing equipment manager and I know he loved this team with everything he had.”
While on paper Hume’s job title may have been equipment supervisor, a position usually seen as administrative, he understood that his role extended far past what most would expect. He understood himself to be an outlet for players to just talk. He consistently made himself available and instituted an open door policy for players to come in and talk about anything, hockey or otherwise.
And it’s clear that while that wasn’t necessarily asked of him, it was something players needed. He was a friendly and supportive face for student athletes who needed affirmation, and he was always there to provide it.
“He did so much for us,” junior forward Phillippe LaPointe said. “He wasn’t just an equipment manager, he had an open door policy. And you know oftentimes I’d just sit there and shoot the (breeze) with him. … I’ve had some really tough conversations with him with adversity and stuff like that, so I’ve opened up to him, he’s opened up to me. And you know, we’ve always had that really good strong relationship where we can tell each other anything. I’ll be forever thankful to have him as a friend and mentor.”
Hume wasn’t just a staff member who sharpened skates. He wasn’t just someone who got equipment from point A to point B. Heck, he wasn’t just an equipment manager. He was a friend to everyone on the Michigan hockey team who needed him to be a friend, and he stood up for his athletes and colleagues when they needed someone to stand up for them.
That’s the part of Hume that won’t be forgotten, that’s the part of Hume that the Wolverines had in mind after they swept Lake Superior and that’s the part of Hume that Michigan has vowed to play the rest of their season for.
“We showed it this weekend, we played for him,” LaPointe said. “And I’m grateful for the memories that I have with him.”