The Robert Morris hockey community is mourning the loss of Josh Merriman this week.
Merriman, a 21-year-old senior from Wintersville, Ohio, passed away suddenly Saturday. He was a defenseman on the school’s ACHA Division III team, which had just begun preparations for the 2017-18 season.
Robert Morris president Dr. Christopher B. Howard released a statement to the university regarding Merriman’s death.
“This is a devastating loss to Joshua’s friends and family and I ask that you please keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” Howard said in the release. “The entire RMU community shares in their grief.
“I will express to Joshua’s family the sympathy that all of us at Robert Morris feel at their loss, knowing that nothing can assuage their grief right now. In the meantime, I ask that you join me in mourning this your man whose life ended far too soon.”
Merriman was a finance major at Robert Morris and had played three seasons with the Colonials under head coach Craig Bioni.
“He was a great player, teammate, leader and friend,” Bioni said. “We will all miss him. He will always be family.”
“He was the guy that always made us laugh, no matter the situation,” said RMU alum Travis Marzina, who played with Merriman. “Some of the best memories come from us just chirping each other on the bus or during practice. He was a great kid, a great hockey player and a great friend.
“The RMU D3 family is really tight knit even after we graduate from school and we all still play together today. He was loved by every single one of us, and we will always gather together one brother short from now on.”
Many of Merriman’s former teammates and opponents took to social media to express their feelings.
Another member of the Crusader Family has passed away. Our prayers go out to Josh Merriman & his family. You will be missed. Rest In Peace💙💛
— BIG BLUE ZONE (@THE_BBZ) September 17, 2017
— Gino Oliverio (@GinoOliverio) September 18, 2017
We are deeply saddened to hear about the loss of one of @RMUD3Hockey players. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
— UPJ_IceCats (@UPJ_IceCats) September 18, 2017
The Colonials are scheduled to begin their season Sept. 29 against Pitt-Johnstown.