(Source: Legacy.com) – “Michael Mantenuto, a former actor and college hockey player who played Jack O’Callahan in the 2004 Disney film “Miracle,” died Monday, April 24, 2017. He was 35.

The death was announced in a news release by Col. Guillaume “Will” Beaurpere, the group commander of the U.S. Army’s 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne). Mantenuto joined the military after his acting career ended.

The release said Mantenuto was found dead in Iowa by the Des Moines Police Department.”

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Such terrible news. A young life, a father, gone way to soon. Tragic.

Not only did Mantenuto do an incredible job with his role as Jack O’Callahan in the movie “Miracle” but he was also a good hockey player, playing 14 games for the University of Maine as a freshman before moving onto UMass-Boston. I actually played against Mantenuto quite a bit in the EJHL the year he committed to Maine when he was then with the Walpole Junior Stars.

But the best hockey story about Mantenuto wasn’t even in a real game. It was during a hockey audition, and how he got the role of Jack O’Callahan:

As written on IMDB.com: “Mantenuto got into a fight on the ice with another player who picked on him and other guys during the tryouts for “Miracle”. He apologized to director Gavin O’Connor afterwards, to which Gavin responded, “No, that was good,” and cast him as Jack O’Callahan, the defenseman dubbed “the first one to drop his gloves.”

And just like that he became a huge part of probably the best hockey movie ever made, leaving us all a great lasting performance to remember.

Rest easy, Mike.

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