Andy Kostka Memorial

Andy Kostka
                      Andy Kostka: February 22, 1980 – November 17, 2012
While at home sleeping, Andy Kostka passed away November 17th, 2012.  It was heartbreaking for all in the inline speed skate community. 
Andy carved a special place in ROBICHON’S heart.  Today’s deep freeze of – 31 + windchill blended with pleasant memory flashes of Andy has afforded me the opportunity to create and publish an article I have long wanted to write to memorialize his impact on me, the inline speed skate community and Robichon’s Skate School. 
The same year of Andy’s death he enrolled his daughter Brynn into Robichon’s Preschool Learn-to-Inline Skate Class in conjunction with and in The City of Maple Grove.  Andy and I were in the midst of developing a strong bond and plan to grow inline speed skating with a new speed skate club / team in Minnesota. He was already a fixture and strong competitor / team member of Hoigaard’s Inline Racing Team.  It was a shock to learn he suddenly passed away just five months  later at the age of 32.  I remain heartbroken.
Andy Kostka with Brynn Kostka in Preschool Inline Skate Class at Maple Grove.
The following is a memorial written November 28, 2012 (with some additions),  just after Andy’s passing for his wife “Betsy”- Elizabeth Kostka and his daughter Brynn Kostka to assist in memorializing him. Our love and light are always with Brynn and Betsy.
Andy’s Impact on Noelle, USARS World Coaches and ROBICHON’S
“It didn’t take long for Andy to enter into my conscious as a gentle soul yet ferocious and fair top inline skate competitor. In the past few years of a newly developing connection with Andy, I remember the following highlights:
PreSchool Skate Camp
Andy Kostka's daughter Brynn in Preschool Inline Skate Class at Maple Grove in 2013
He embraced Robichon’s, and honored the school by enrolling Brynn into Robichon’s Preschool Inline Skate Class in Maple Grove 2012. The year prior, in passing, he mentioned he heard of the classes, and would like to have her participate. When he took the initiative to research and email me about class opportunities, I was appreciative of the endorsement of our class offerings.
Andy Kostka's Daughter Brynn Kostka in Preschool Inline Skate Classes, 2013


 He did much more, however. Not only did he enroll Brynn in Robichon’s preschool skate camp, he offered to help with the other kids. Each class he placed his skates on and actively helped each child learn-to-inline skate. He asked me what I needed from him, I expressed our needs, he assisted.
Andy Kostka assisting a Preschool Inline Skate Student in 2012


Then he hit me with the final blow. At the end of our final class, he asked if I would be interested in coaching a team of speed skaters he was looking to piece together. I was completely honored, and said absolutely, “YES, of course I will!” He was going to get back to me. 
Growing The Sport
Andy was a leader.  He was “engineering” inline speed skating’s  future, and even denoted keys to it’s success.  Before, during, and after class, Andy was asking me many questions regarding the inline skate industry, teaching me about ice; it’s organizational structure, and mentioning obstacles in the way of inline

Andy Kostka in Paceline with World Class Skaters in Couderay, WI


speed skating’s growth. We continued, discussing ways we could overcome identified obstacles to successfully develop the sport of inline speed skating.  He was preparing to  “patent” its future well. I am sorry we will miss his hand in the tooling of speed skating’s future. He knew what needed to be done, and was laying out the “spreadsheet” to get the job done.  

Andy Kostka in front of World Class USARS coaches in Couderay, WI
 Andy flew solo to soak up knowledge from USARS World Coaches in Couderay, WI June of 2012.  Upon recommendation from Skeeter Moore, who had expressed receiving overwhelming feedback from skaters when he took the reigns as Executive Director of our now nation’s Inline Speed Skating “National Championship”,  I joined the coaches as an honorary coach. While with the coaches; the coaches, specifically Jay Ingram, singled out Andy asking who he was, mentioning he is very impressed by him. He / they were impressed with his strength and noted with a little guidance he could be a top contender in USARS race circuit, if not beat the reigning world competitors. Still, while intently soaking up technical, tactical, and drill information, and viably competing with the world class speed skaters on Couderay’s banked track, he remained humble, stating to me, “I’m getting my butt handed to me by a eight year old”.

Andy Kostka giving chase with world class skaters in Couderay, WI
In Sum
I will miss the opportunity to “engineer” speed skating’s future with Andy, was honored to have him enroll Brynn in our inline skate classes and was most profoundly humbled when he asked if I would coach speed skaters for a “club” he was considering. In the short period of time we grew to know each other, he  touched me profoundly, and I am missing the chance to work with him as a component on his speed skating spreadsheet.”
Andy Kostka listening to USARS World Coaches in Couderay, WI.
Thanks for all of the above, Andy. It has been five years since your passing. You continue to be greatly missed.
Noelle Robichon
Robichon’s, the original inline skate school.


Andy’s Obituary

Andrew “Andy” Christian Kostka

February 22, 1980 ~ November 17, 2012

“Andy,” Andrew Christian Kostka, 32, of Dayton passed away Saturday, November 17, 2012 at his home.

Andy was born February 22, 1980, in Maple Grove/Minneapolis, Minnesota. He married the love of his life and soulmate, “Betsy,” Elizabeth Marie Breyer, on July 11, 2003 in Plymouth. He was the goalie of the high school hockey team and graduated as class valedictorian from Osseo Senior High School in 1998. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York in 2002, where he graduated with highest distinction.

Following graduation, he was hired by General Mills where he has worked as a process systems engineer for 10 years. He travelled abroad for the company and was granted several patents during that time. He was well respected by all of his colleagues.

Andy was always happy and full of life. His life revolved around his two favorite people, Betsy and his four-year-old daughter Brynn, his passion for sports, and his friends. For eleven years, he was a valued teammate and friend of the Science Alliance volleyball team. He qualified as a Masters speed skating and was an avid Inline Racer with Team Hoigaard’s. When he wasn’t racing, he filled his life with family, friends, and playing broomball. His two favorite fans were Betsy and Brynn. He was well-loved.

Andy is survived by his wife, Betsy; daughter, Brynn Elizabeth of Dayton; mother-in-law Donna Breyer of Maple Grove; father and mother-in-law, Kevin Breyer and Kathie Krichhbaum, of Mahtomedi; sisters and brothers-in-law Molly and Terry Bauer and Jessica and Ben Rowan of Lake Elmo; parents, Cathy and Scott Kostka and sister Emy Kostka of Maple Grove; and Auntie Ann, Uncle Mark and cousin Tessa Vellek of Columbia, Missouri.