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NHL And More Pay Tribute To Teddy Balkind, Connecticut Teen Who Died After High School Hockey Game Injury

NEW CANAAN, Conn. (CBSNewYork) -- The tragic death of a 16-year-old Connecticut boy who passed away after being injured during a high school hockey game is reverberating in our community.

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon spoke to those who loved 16-year-old Teddy Balkind.

He's being remembered as a born leader and a young man with a positive personality and an infectious smile who was passionate about his family, his friends and his love for sports.

Andrew Baker is Teddy's longtime friend.

"He was always happy. Like, no matter what," he said. "He'd raise everyone's spirits, even though everyone's feeling down. He'd be like the sunshine."

The two spent seven summers together at Camp Awosting, a boy's sleepaway camp, in Morris.

"I'm still in shock that, like, he's still-- he, like, he's just not here anymore. It doesn't feel like he's gone," Andrew said.

Officials say the 10th grader at St. Luke's School in New Canaan died after a junior varsity hockey game on Thursday evening.

As his school faced off against Brunswick School at a game in Greenwich, Teddy fell to the ice. Another player who was near him was unable to stop, and the two collided.

It's believed Teddy's neck was accidentally cut by a skate.

The teenager was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

"Teddy was a light that has been extinguished way too soon. He was funny. He was vivacious," said Kristin Ebner-Martin, co-owner of Camp Awosting. "You always knew when he walked in a room because the biggest smile in the room was his."

Ebner-Martin says Teddy was a fearless leader who was a mentor for the other campers. She says while he had a deep love for mountain biking, he was good at everything.

"He won numerous awards for mountain biking at camp," she said. "He was very much into water skiing and being part of the canoe team and all of that ... He was so well-rounded. He made himself known all over camp, so he was at the ropes course, he was at arts and crafts, he was at ceramics, he was at archery."

Ebner-Martin says hundreds of staff and campers are now in mourning.

Meanwhile, tributes for the teen are now pouring in.

The NHL, the New York Rangers and the Islanders have all sent condolences.

Many people have also started posting photos of hockey sticks on social media.

Andrew says his friend would be honored by the love.

"He would be so humbled to, like, know that people are thinking about him at this time," he said. "He'd be really happy about it."

His camp community is now asking those who can to also put their hockey sticks out for Teddy. The hope is the support will bring comfort to his family.

CBS2's Kiran Dhillon contributed to this report. Editor's note: This story was first published Jan. 8.

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