UK Hockey family reflects on senior leader’s life



By Nicole Schladt

Dozens of students, athletes, fans and family members gathered at a memorial service Monday to remember a standout leader on the UK Hockey team, Taylor Vit.

Twenty-two-year-old Vit, who died Oct. 10 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident, was a senior at UK. He was also an assistant captain of the UK Hockey team.

UK Hockey and the university hosted the service.

Among those who spoke at the memorial service were UK Hockey general manager Ian Ward and head coach Rob Docherty.

“We share a common thread: the love we have for Taylor and the heartbreak we have over his passing,” Docherty said. “If we keep the memory of Taylor, we will be better people.”

Vit’s former teammate Tony Valerino and his childhood friend and college roommate, Will Gray, also commemorated Vit at the service.

“Taylor was genuine, honest and someone we could always count on,” Valerino said.

Valerino said Vit acted the same way on the ice.

Gray, who played on the same high school hockey team as Vit, shared similar experiences.

“Taylor, no matter what team he played for, was always the go-to guy,” Gray said. “He was a man of great character, and the way he touched us all will never be forgotten.”

Quest Community Church, including members of its Reverb College Ministry, led the service.

Justin McCarty, assistant pastor of Quest Community Church, said the teammates and friends gathering in remembrance of Taylor Vit showed solidarity in the wake of tragedy.

“Some of us knew him as a hockey player, a teammate, a son, a student, a friend,” McCarty said, “but we all make up a collage together of his life.”

Brad VanGenderen, student pastor of Quest Community Church, also read a letter that Vit’s family sent to the UK community for the memorial service. In the letter, the family thanked UK for the outpouring of love and prayers it has received.

“A part of Taylor will always rest in the Bluegrass state,” the letter said.