In 2016, Rowan Nielson took one day off from cheering on the NTDP from the tunnel to serve as the youth skater of the game, and he made the most of the opportunity. (Photo by Michael Caples/MiHockey)

Help out Goalie Rowan and the Nielson family

By @MichaelCaples –

Rowan Nielson is, undoubtedly, the No. 1 fan of USA Hockey’s National Team Development Program.

He’s also quite the goalie.

And right now, “Goalie Rowan” could use some support from the hockey community, as he lost his dad last week.

Steve Nielson, a dedicated and loving hockey parent and coach, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 46. He and Rowan rarely missed an NTDP game, dating back to the days when Team USA skated out of the Ann Arbor Ice Cube.

The duo wouldn’t let Rowan’s autism keep him from playing the game he loves, nor from following the careers of his favorite players. Rowan developed many relationships with the NTDP’s goalies and players year after year.

“I remember Rowan and Steve coming to games all the way back to the ’95 birth-year at the Cube, as a little guy, and he’s really grown up with the program,” said Scott Monaghan, senior director of the NTDP and an original staff member of the team. “I think for he and his dad, it was a great experience to come to the games together and bond and watch kids go through the challenges that they go through here. He’s still up in the stands in a Louie Belpedio jersey every night – that’s just awesome.

“[Rowan]’s a really, really special kid.”

Steven Nielson also helped coach Rowan’s twin siblings, Hunter and HaiLei.

The Nielson family has a GoFundMe page to help with the funeral expenses and whatever else may be coming down the line. You can visit the page by clicking here or clicking on the embedded webpage below.

MiHockey Staff

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