August 24, 2017 10:18 PM
Thursday was an emotional night for the Minnehaha Academy community.
Earlier this month, of course, a gas explosion destroyed part of the Upper Campus - killing two longtime employees and seriously injuring an assistant boys soccer coach.
But when the team opened its season Thursday night, Bryan Duffey showed up for the game.
About an hour before the game was scheduled to begin, Duffey and his wife entered the stadium. He is still recovering from severe injuries suffered during the explosion - including undergoing successful leg amputation surgery.
The crowd greeted him with applause, and his team broke the huddle with an emphatic "Duffey."
Armstrong High School held a moment of silence for Duffey and all the victims of the explosion.
Seeing Duffey's recovery progress up close and personal meant a lot to parents, who said that while this may be a challenging time, they're determined to come together as one.
"I just got chills, and I knew he was coming so I was prepared for it," said Alison Schmitz, a parent of one soccer player. "But I just think of the absolute courage that this young guy has, and all of the doctors have said he couldn't recover so fast, and (yet) here he is (at) the first game of the season. He told our coach, 'We started it and we are going to finish it.'"
Duffey's wife said he is expected to be released from the hospital Tuesday. She said he's improving every day, and they're excited to bring him home.
Armstrong won the game 2-0. But as one Minnehaha Academy parent put it afterward:
"Tonight isn't about soccer. It's about family."
Updated: August 24, 2017 10:18 PM
Created: August 24, 2017 09:47 PM
Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company