A 20-year-old college hockey player from Cohasset died Saturday while visiting the University of Delaware, officials said, leaving those who knew him mourning a young man they described as selfless and kind.
Willem Golden was a first-year student at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he majored in business and played as a forward on the hockey team. Police in Newark, Del., said he fell from the roof of a three-story building near the campus there.
Officials said they do not know why Golden was in Delaware or what led to the fall. The weekend marked the end of Skidmore College’s spring break. Family members could not immediately be reached for comment.
Rob Hutchison, head coach of the Skidmore men’s ice hockey team, said he and the players were shocked and heartbroken by the news of Golden’s death. He was one of the most selfless players on the Thoroughbreds, Hutchison added.
“He had the ability to score and was, frankly, one of our most successful guys, but he always wanted to pass the puck first,” Hutchison said. “That was more of a character trait of who he was. It was not only how he [approached] competition but life in general.”
In a letter to students, Skidmore College president Philip A. Glotzbach mourned the college’sloss.
“Will had been a member of the Skidmore community for less than a year but had already made many connections with students, faculty, staff, and teammates who will grieve his loss very deeply,” Glotzbach wrote.
In high school, Golden was a talented lacrosse player. Before going to college, he played for the Boston Bandits in the Eastern Hockey League.
Todd Stirling, head coach of the Bandits, said Golden always came to the rink with a smile on his face.
“He was a very happy young man, always positive and upbeat,” Stirling said.
Although Golden only played half of the 2014-2015 season, he fit in with the team immediately.
“He came in and worked hard and gained instant credibility with his teammates,” Stirling said. “For me and the Bandits, he will be remembered as a great teammate and someone who could be relied on in any situation.”
Golden applied the same work ethic at Skidmore.
“He was always a hard worker regardless of what we were doing,” Hutchison said. “Whether it was a practice session or a game day, you got the same effort out of him.”
That effort earned Golden a spot on the team’s roster from the start of the season.
“I don’t think he ever disappointed us,” Hutchison said.
The team will meet Sunday night to mourn its loss.
Skidmore College has offered additional counseling services to students and plans to hold a campus gathering Tuesday to honor Golden’s memory.
“I ask that we all do everything we can to support one another during this very challenging time,” the college president wrote.
The University of Delaware is also offering additional counseling services to its students.
Police found Golden unresponsive at a residence on West Main Street about 4 p.m. Saturday. He died later that night at Christiana Hospital, Newark police said.
Newark police are investigating the incident. They ask anyone with additional information to contact Detective Michael Watson at 302-366-7100 ext. 3132 or Michael.Watson@cj.state.de.us.