PARK CITY, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Viewmont and Park City are high school hockey rivals. But before they hit the ice in a playoff game this past week, the Park City team did something extraordinary to help a Viewmont family.
Tanner Bangerter comes from a long line of hockey players at Viewmont. His older brother and sister both played for the Vikings, and his mother, Becky, is the team mom. So when Tanner's father, Doug, a mechanic for Gold Cross ambulance service for 22 years, suffered a massive heart attack days before the playoff game, the entire team was devastated.
"They are the core of Viewmont hockey," said team trustee Bryan Boam. "They are very well known in the community and very well beloved."
When Park City's Nixon Barber heard about what happened, he wanted to help.
"I've been a friend of Tanner for a couple of years," Barber said. "We actually heard on Facebook that his dad had a heart attack. We knew that the game was coming up, so my mom just brought up the idea of doing a fundraiser, and I thought it was a good idea."
There was no announcement or publicity for the fundraiser. When fans walked into Park City Ice Rink, they were greeted by a jar and a sign asking for donations to help the Bangerter family.
"As people walked by, they just dropped in cash," Barber said. "It was really nice and a great way to pull everybody together."
Almost 600 dollars was raised. The Viewmont team was incredibly moved.
"As a coach, it just never ceases to amaze you how much people care," said Viewmont head coach Brian Acord. "I know hockey gets a bad rap on occasion, but in the heart of it, we're all just people and they are there to help."
"The fans of hockey are amazing," said Boam. "They saw that there was someone in their brotherhood in need. They didn't know Doug personally, they didn't know any of the players personally. They just realized that somebody in the hockey community was in need."
"The interesting thing is that when I looked up into the stands," said Park City assistant coach Eric Janes, "there were parents, but most of the stands were filled with students from both schools. So, to raise that kind of money, you know the students were participating."
When Boam heard that Park City was going to try to help, he made a thank you poster that the entire Viewmont team signed. Before the game, the Vikings presented the poster to the Miners amidst a standing ovation from the crowd.
"I wanted to make sure they knew how much we appreciated what they were doing," said Boam. "Our team was unaware of what Park City was going to do, but when they saw the jar of money, they wanted to put their name and jersey number on the poster to show their gratitude."
Doug is still in the intensive care unit and is listed in critical condition. Tanner didn't want to talk on camera, but he told his friend that he was extremely grateful for the incredible gesture by the Park City community.
"I talked to Tanner after the game," Barber said. "He expressed his gratitude, and you could just tell they were grateful for what we did. Everybody was just glad to do something good. It was just giving back and showing support for people in our community."
Saturday morning, Doug Bangerter passed away.
If you would like to donate to the Doug Bangerter Memorial Fund, there is an account set up at America First Credit Union in Bountiful. The address is 555 South 200 West, Bountiful, Utah 84010. The phone number is (801) 295-3851.