Emmalynn Herbstritt: Rising hockey star, 21, dies in Utah climbing accident while having 'best summer'
'Emmalynn was passionate about both nature and hockey,' read the Facebook post by the Utah High School hockey team, mourning her loss
MOAB, UTAH: A haunting photo of a former high school hockey sensation, who fell to her death in a climbing accident, has emerged. Emmalynn Herbstritt plummeted to her death while canyoneering in Moab, Utah, at Morning Glory Arch on Saturday, November 12.
The 21-year-old canyoneering tour guide was found unconscious at the scene and later pronounced dead. Authorities are yet to divulge further information regarding the incident as Herbstritt's former hockey friends paid tribute to the athlete after news of her death spread in the community.
"The entire Utah hockey community mourns the loss of Emmalynn Herbstritt to a rock climbing accident in Moab Utah," the Utah High School hockey team said in a statement on Facebook. "Emmalynn was passionate about both nature and hockey. She competed for the Utah Junior Grizzlies and Lady Grizzlies for many seasons. She played high school hockey for Brighton as a freshwoman and then for East through graduation. She was an alternate captain for East and recipient of the Art Teece Lady MVP award in 2019." The post added, "Emmalynn is the daughter of Bryan and Misty Herbstritt, both of whom themselves have devoted thousands of hours to Utah hockey as state board members. Misty is the current Vice President for Utah High School Hockey. Emmalynn was the older sister to Bentley, a senior for the Salt Lake Stars, and Audrey. Emmalynn will be greatly missed."
Now, a picture posted to Herbstritt's Facebook on June 11 has gone viral, The Sun reported, showing the canyoneering expert surrounded by bicycles and smiling in what appears to be a canyon. "Heat + Nature + Adrenaline Rush Activities = The BEST Summer!!" she captioned the post. According to the National Park Service, canyoneering entails route finding, rappelling, problem-solving, swimming, and hiking. As mentioned, young Herbstritt was found unresponsive at the scene on Saturday and later pronounced dead.
Kerry Fain, a hockey team mum and a friend of Herbstritt's family, told KSL-TV that she knew her for more than a decade. "(Emmalynn) was just so positive at everything, had her fingers in helping with everything," she said. "Her and her family, Misty and Bryan her parents, they’re just fantastic.” According to Fain, the 21-year-old hockey star was not afraid of physically stronger boys and gave them a run for their money instead. “Emmalynn — she was pretty exceptional. She was even able to go out there and keep up with boys and give them a little bit of their own medicine. She was not afraid of the contact or the play," Fain said.
East High Hockey Coach Eric Capps told the outlet, “Emmalynn was always nice to everyone. She was one of our higher-skilled players, these players go in one of two directions: Get frustrated that the new players aren’t able to make the right plays. Or help them. Emmalynn chose to help them. She was very focused on the ice. I imagine she was this way with everything she did.” East High Hockey Assistant Coach Per Gesteland added, “I remember her intense passion for the game. It was infectious. She was the motivator on the bench; always cheering (occasionally coaching) her teammates on the ice from the bench. She was a tenacious and fearless defenseman.”
Fain gushed about how Herbstritt went on to become a mentor and helped younger girls find their voice, recalling how she once spoke to an audience of about 100 girls in Chicago during a showcase tournament to educate them about the benefits of playing an athletic sport in college. Fain described Herbstritt as a "shining light" for others. “Any way she could help, helping with youth camp, things like that, kids, the younger Lady Griz– she’d come out and skate with them,” Fain said. “It made a huge difference, and there’s definitely a void without her.
A funeral service for the beloved athlete has been scheduled for Monday, November 21 in Salt Lake City.