NIAGARA FALLS N.Y. (WIVB) – The Niagara University community is mourning the loss of one of its students who died over the weekend in a house fire. The student, Patrick Romano, played for the university’s ACHA hockey team. Head coach Tom Mooradian says Patrick was an asset on and off the ice.

“If there’s anything that I want people to remember about Pat it’s that he was just the person who always went out of his way to make other people feel comfortable,” he said.

The NU student died Saturday morning during a house fire on Wyoming avenue in Niagara Falls. Mooradian calls the unexpected loss devastating. He describes Patrick as being the heartbeat of the team and that he is missed by many.

“You start to see the impact that people make on the community as a whole when something like this happens and there are so many people who’ve reach out and told us stories, obviously shared all the positive memories, or the impact he’s made on their lives,” Mooradian said adding that one of his favorite memories involves joking around with Patrick during practice.

“When he was a freshman I guess the running joke between him and I was I would always skate up to him in the corner and just bump into him and kind of fake challenge him to a fight,” he said. “I would always be like, you don’t want to drop the glove Patty and he’d be like, ‘coach I don’t want to get beat up I don’t want to get embarrassed.'”

The team’s 21-22 season will be dedicated in Patrick’s memory. The team will also be getting all new jerseys which will have a purple heart with Patrick’s number 19 on it.

“It’s been incredible to see how many people within our organization, players, alumni, coaches, have really kinda taken on the let’s keep patty’s memory alive task,” he said.

“He was a great guy who made a positive impact on everyone he came in contact with. He was a great friend and teammate to everyone. Patrick will always be remembered for his great smile.  His smile could light up a room.”

Linda Smolka, son played hockey with Patrick

“His personality and smile stick out the most when we think of pat. He was the first person there when you need him and always could help lift you up. There aren’t many people that walk into and touch so many lives by being themselves; Pat was one of those individuals and was loved by so many because of that. It’s really difficult to put into words how much he’s going to be missed. Pat really was a special person.”

David Fish, teammate