But in a very real sense, Tanner will be in attendance at Hockey Day Minnesota 2018. After his passing, a group of local people who knew and loved him launched Tanner's Team Foundation. It helps families in Minnesota who have children with life-threatening illnesses focus on their kids without having to worry about household bills.
"We pay mortgages, we pay car payments, we pay electrical bills – whatever expenses the family is incurring," says Gail Cruikshank, the foundation's vice chair. Since its founding, Tanner's Team Foundation has awarded grants to 170 families throughout Minnesota exceeding $150,000.
For Cruikshank, as with so many other volunteers, this work is very personal. "I had a connection with the family before Tanner became sick, and really went through that battle with Tanner and his family."
"We pay mortgages, we pay car payments, we pay electrical bills – whatever expenses the family is incurring," – Gail Cruikshank, Tanner's Team Foundation vice chair
The Central Minnesota Thrivent Member Network is a sponsor for Hockey Day Minnesota 2018. There will numerous promotional events highlighting Tanner's Team Foundation and the families it has helped.
"We believe that communities can be strengthened, lives can be changed, and a ripple effect of generosity can grow with this partnership between Thrivent and Tanner's Team Foundation," says Michelle Agnew, Community Engagement Leader for Thrivent's Central Minnesota Regional Financial Office in St. Cloud.
As any Minnesotan will tell you: Hockey and community play on the same team. Learn more about the organization at tannersteam.org.