BOISE, IDAHO – It has been almost two months since Andrew Carroll passed away at the Chicago O’Hare Airport after falling 60 feet from an overpass, taking his own life. Many of the former teams that Carroll played for – the Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL), University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs (WCHA), Hershey Bears (AHL), the Bakersfield Condors & Charlotte Checkers (formerly ECHL, now AHL) and Idaho Steelheads (ECHL) – paid homage to Carroll through their respective websites, social media accounts, hanging his jersey on the bench (UMD), and pre-game video tributes. One could also see his name sprinkled in the Twitter mentions of #BellLetsTalk on January 31 in promotion of mental health awareness.
Andrew had two stints with the Idaho Steelheads during the 2012-13 and 2015-16 seasons. Both times with the club, he was made an alternate captain for his leadership on and off the ice. Now, his impact extends beyond his hockey-playing career and his life. Here are two stories (from a fan and employee perspective) regarding the character and care Andrew Carroll delivered to the Treasure Valley community off the ice.
“Andrew Carroll was an amazing person. He became a part of a program that we had going at Frank Church High School in conjunction with the Steelheads. Players came to school when they were in town one or two days a week to spend time with the students. It was set up as a mentoring and incentive program to try and improve the attendance and grades of these students.
Andrew was introduced to the program by Matt Case, another player that he knew from growing up and playing hockey with in Minnesota. Andy could be found in art classes, PE classes, or the study lab helping kids with whatever they needed help with…or even if they just wanted to talk. Most of the time the kids just wanted someone to talk to, and the fact that a PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE wanted to talk to them and spend time with them meant so much.
Andy always wanted to come to school! Part of this was his understanding in the importance of education (his mother was a teacher), but also his love of people and knowing that he was making a difference. Even when he played with Bakersfield, he wanted to go to school. He called me and we worked out how he could make it up to school to visit, since they had a three-game set here in Boise. Even during playoffs, he still wanted to make sure he made it to the school. He was truly an amazing person and we are all a little less with him not in our lives.”
-Angie Counsell, Season Ticket Holder for the Idaho Steelheads
“I have been in charge of scheduling and doing community events and school visits the last few seasons. When Andrew was here during the 2015-16, he seemed to always be the first one to volunteer and get out into the community. Throughout the season, I would guess he went on eight to ten visits that I scheduled, and that doesn’t even include his visits to a local alternative high school on his own time.
I have never been around someone with the competitive spirit that AC had. On our way home from a school visit, he somehow got in an argument with his teammate (I believe it was Damien Cross) on how fast he could run a mile. If I remember correctly, the argument started because the school we were at had the fastest mile times by the students posted. AC wanted me to stop the car so he could get out and prove he could run a sub 5-minute mile. He said, ‘If I don’t run this mile in under 5 minutes, I will walk home!’ Yeah…..we were in Meridian [five miles away from Boise].
One of my favorite memories was when we went out to a school visit in Wilder, ID with Andrew and Rob Linsmayer. We went to both the elementary and high school our school out there. The gym had an old-school feel to it with the raised stands, and that environment just got a little competitive! Let’s just say, in my time with AC on school visits, he never lost a game. [Idaho Media Director and Broadcaster] Brian McCormack mentioned this in one of his tweets, but AC would say ‘I had to put a few in so the kids could go home and tell mom they got an assist!'”
-Steven Anderson, Senior Account Executive for the Idaho Steelheads
Several articles and video tributes for Andrew have been linked below.