Plymouth, MI (WZZM) - His friends say It's what Ryan would have wanted, and that's why the Grandville High School hockey team played Friday night without senior co-captain, Ryan Fischer.
The 17 year-old died suddenly Friday morning from what the medical examiner said was an enlarged heart.
His friends say they are sure Ryan would want his team to play on without him.
It was the state semi-final game and he was the kind of boy who put team first.
The game in Plymouth also gave classmates, parents, and fans a place to gather and remember Ryan and what he meant to the them.
"I feel like it hasn't really sunk in, its hard to believe he is actually gone," said classmate Alisha Cox. She and 6 friends drove from Grandville to watch the game in Plymouth. "We went to elementary school together. I've known him since I was like in kindergarten. We used to play all the time together. He was nice to everybody."
The school administration consulted with family members before deciding to play the game Friday night.
"We went to the parents," explains Grandville High School Assistant Principal John Philo. "We wanted to figure out what their wishes were. Their wishes were that we play. Go perform and honor him."
Many in the crowd were wearing jerseys showing Ryan's number "11".
"He is just special in a whole different way," explained Paul Madden, a team mates father. "Every kid has got the way they are, but with Ryan it's something really special. He's got special characteristics."
"He has a million dollar smile," adds 8th grader Brianna Madden. "Even if they lose a game 32 to zero he is still happy. He walks out smiling."
After Friday night's game friends say Ryan would have been disappointed but still smiling and upbeat. His Grandville Bulldogs lost to Detroit Catholic Central 3 to 0.