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

  • Erick

    “Warroad plays Proctor/Hermantown this afternoon at 1:30. Just in case you needed someone to root for.” My heart goes out to Coach Marvin, but let’s not forget the P/H women aren’t to blame. I will remain agnostic and cheer on either team.

    • Nobody said anything of sort. You can root for someone without rooting against someone. Honestly.

  • AL287

    Teens can be horribly cruel to each other and social media only adds to the problem of feeling like you’re not fitting in.

    My deceased father had bipolar disorder so my siblings and I had a 50% greater risk of depression but social media didn’t exist in the 1970’s and didn’t exist when I raised my own son who is in his 30’s now.

    I worry now about my grandson who will grow up having never known a world without the pressures of social media.

    There are numerous studies done in the last ten years that have definitely linked social media to rising rates of suicide, anxiety and depression among teens and adults.

    Be kind to each other, America.

    Smile at the strangers you meet while shopping or run into at the public park.

    You just might be the lifeline that keeps them from pulling the trigger, crashing their car or swallowing those pills.

  • Jack

    I am one of those that pitch the paper (assuming it actually gets delivered – maybe mine just keeps going into the black hole….) before reading the sports section.

    I noticed this article on-line and read it. As a parent, it is my worst fear.

    Maybe it’s because are a bit more open now, but mental health issues seem to be more common now. Job stress is certainly not helping.