Read, React, & Rescue

Pond Hockey Heroes In The Right Place At The Right Time To Thwart Would-Be Car Jacking
Greg Bates

The ability to read and react is a vital on-ice skill for any hockey player. So is having a knack for being in the right place at the right time. 

One group of pond hockey players used those skills away from the ice to help thwart a would-be car jacking.

The encounter happened one year ago, but the memories of that fateful day remain as sharp as these good Samaritan's skates.

After a long three-day weekend competing in the 2017 Labatt Blue/USA Pond Hockey National Championships in Eagle River, Wis., Kevin Weber, Jordan Lemanski and Brent Theisen packed up their gear and began the three-hour trip back home to Madison.

On the outskirts of Madison, they turned off the interstate onto a local road and saw a man run across the road and in front of an oncoming car while waving his arms before jumping in the passenger side. As the men approached the vehicle they could hear the 23-year-old female driver yelling for help.

"All of a sudden, he's hitting her in the head and trying to push her out the door," Weber said. 

With no time to consider their own safety, Weber swerved his car in the path of the woman's car to block its path. In a desperate attempt to flee, the carjacking suspect stepped on the gas and plowed into Weber's vehicle. Theisen's front passenger side door was obstructed, but Lemanski and Weber were able to jump out of the car and pull the suspect from the vehicle. All three tumbled into the ditch as Thiesen finally freed himself from his vehicle.

"By the time I got there those guys were already giving him the business," Theisen said.

Weber thought the carjacker, 24-year-old Andre Nash from Milwaukee, was under some type of influence because he wouldn't back down as three guys were "pounding on him." 

A Wisconsin state trooper eventually arrived on the scene and after a struggle was able to apprehend Nash. 

Later, the three learned that Nash had previously led officers on a high-speed chase out from Milwaukee - which is about 80 miles from Madison - before crashing his car not far from where the attempted carjacking took place.

Nash is currently in jail facing multiple charges, while these hockey heroes received an award from the Wisconsin Victims/Witness Professionals Association. Still, any mention of their heroism is quickly deflected as the men say they were simply in the right place at the right time.

"We were just following Kevin's lead," Theisen said. "If he doesn't park his car in front of the victim's car, they're gone. I'm just glad we were able to help out and make sure that this [guy] didn't get away."

"It was crazy," Lemanski added. "I still can't believe it happened. But I'm glad we were there to help."

The three returned to Eagle River this year and helped lead Ale Asylum to the finals of the 30+ Silver Division. The incident made for a good postgame story  sitting with friends and teammates on Dollar Lake, but for the most part the events of a year earlier seldom cross their minds.

"Not unless you're at the grocery store and you see someone that you haven't seen in a while, 'Oh, hey, you hero,'" Weber said.

But the guys don't look at themselves that way. They did what any good hockey player would do-read, react and rescue someone in need of help.

"You see something going on," Weber said, "you've got to do the right thing." P

Greg Bates is a freelance writer based in Green Bay, Wis.


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