Bishop Eustace Ice Hockey takes on Gloucester Catholic on February 9, 2011 at the Skate Zone in Pennsauken. Prior to the game, Bishop Eustace will pay tribute to their fallen teammate, Conor O'Kane '09, who tragically passed away in January.

T-shirts in memory of Conor will be sold for $10 each, and all proceeds will go to St Rose in Conor's name.




Conor O'Kane, hockey player

January 21, 2011|By Claudia Vargas, Inquirer Staff Writer

Conor H. O'Kane, 19, of Haddon Heights, an ice hockey standout who played on the Bishop Eustace Preparatory School varsity team and the La Salle University club team, died after collapsing at his home Saturday, Jan. 15.

Doctors have suggested that the cause of death was heart-related, family members said. A final determination is pending.

In high school and college, Mr. O'Kane was the team jokester everyone loved. Before games and during practices, he would enter the locker room and turn on an exaggerated Canadian accent. He was also known for bursting into 1990s pop songs.

"There was never a dull moment, never awkward silence," said La Salle teammate Brett Johnson. "He always made everyone laugh." Eustace, where he was a four-year varsity defenseman, Mr. O'Kane was "easily the most popular" player on the team, said varsity coach Mike Green.

"He never worried about how much ice time he got," said his father, William. "He just wanted everyone to have a good time."

As a senior, Mr. O'Kane helped lead his high school team to the Gordon Cup in 2009. Following his death, several of Mr. O'Kane's Eustace teammates got matching tattoos - a green shamrock with the number 22 and two hockey sticks - on their right shoulder blades in his memory.

Mr. O'Kane wore the No. 22 jersey at Eustace and No. 44 at La Salle.

He often went back to his high school during college breaks to practice with its team and help the younger players, including his brother, Nevin, a junior, Green said.

The sophomore accounting major joined La Salle's club team in his freshman year. At 6-foot-5, he was its tallest player.

Mr. O'Kane was born and raised in Haddon Heights and attended St. Rose of Lima Parish School, where he was eighth-grade student council president. He had been hooked on hockey since his father took him to the Rizzo Ice Rink in South Philadelphia when he was 5.

The oldest of three children, Mr. O'Kane loved being with his family. He chose La Salle because it was near home, his father said.

Mr. O'Kane would come back to Haddon Heights on Saturdays and enjoy activities with his family, such as cutting down a Christmas tree or building scarecrows.

"He was just a laid-back kind of kid," his father said.


In addition to his father and brother, Mr. O'Kane is survived by his mother, Patricia; a sister, Darby; and grandmothers Bernice O'Kane and Regina Fehrle.


Contact staff writer Claudia Vargas at 856-779-3917 or