Nov. 13, 2013
For the past five years, Justin Selman has put the initials "A.S." on the tape at the end of his stick to honor Aaron Scheidlinger, his maternal grandfather. This month, Selman has added a moustache as a tribute as part of Michigan Moustaches for Men's Health.
Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2007, Scheidlinger fought the illness for a year before losing his battle in 2008.
"It was the first time I had experienced a loss in my family," Selman said. "My mom asked why I had a moustache, and when I told her she started crying. She was really happy that I was doing this. It was a tough loss, for my little sister and brother as well."
Selman remembers fondly a man who took an active interest in his hockey career. When Selman was younger, he recalled playing goaltender for his grandfather so he could shoot street hockey balls at him in the driveway. While Scheidlinger did not have a favorite NHL team, he did at least try to show his grandson that he had knowledge of the game.
"He would always look up NHL stats when I came over to try to show me that he knew what he was talking about," Selman said. "But I knew, because he would call (goaltender) Dominik Hasek a forward, that he was doing it just for me. Just knowing that he was trying was really nice."
Later on, as Selman continued to play hockey as a teenager near his hometown of Upper Saddle River, NJ, Scheidlinger was a constant presence in the stands.
"He would come to almost all my games on the weekend," Selman said. "I knew when I was younger that Michigan was where I always wanted to play, and he went out and bought Michigan shirts. Unfortunately, he wasn't around when I committed, but I knew he would be really proud."
As a reward for good grades, Schiedlinger would take Selman and friends to Six Flags Theme Park in Jackson, N.J., at the end of each school year.
"Usually after the last day of school, he would drive us down there," Selman said. "And no matter how long we had to wait in line he would wait for us. My mom said she learned everything about being a parent from him."
After a week off from play, Michigan returns this weekend for a two-game series at Nebraska-Omaha. Friday's game begins at 8:07 p.m. CST and will be televised on CBS College Sports Network; Saturday's game begins at 7:07 p.m. CST.