NHL sends condolences to B.C. community reeling from teen hockey deaths

·4 min read
From left: Hockey players Ronin Sharma, Parker Magnuson and Caleb Reimer were killed in a car crash in Surrey, B.C., early Saturday morning. Police are still determining the cause of the crash.  (Langley Rivermen/Edmonton Oil Kings/Delta Hockey Academy - image credit)
From left: Hockey players Ronin Sharma, Parker Magnuson and Caleb Reimer were killed in a car crash in Surrey, B.C., early Saturday morning. Police are still determining the cause of the crash. (Langley Rivermen/Edmonton Oil Kings/Delta Hockey Academy - image credit)

British Columbia's junior hockey community is reeling after a vehicle crash took the lives of teenage hockey players Ronin Sharma, Caleb Reimer and Parker Magnuson on Saturday.

The three teens, who were members of the Delta Hockey Academy, were killed when a vehicle crashed into a tree in Surrey, B.C..

The academy said it is "heartbroken" by the news, calling it "difficult to process."

"Thank you to everyone in the hockey community for sharing your support for our student-athletes during this difficult time," the organization said in a statement.

The National Hockey League also issued a tweet on Sunday in support of the teens' teammates and families.

"The NHL sends its love and deepest condolences to the families of junior hockey players Caleb Reimer, Ronin Sharma and Parker Magnuson," the professional league wrote on Twitter.

Delta Hockey Academy's head coach for under-15s helped train all three teens.

"The relationships a coach builds with the players is beyond special," Tim Preston wrote on Facebook. "I will never forget the times spent with these three incredible young men."

He and fellow coach Shawn McBride started a memorial at Delta's Planet Ice hockey rinks featuring the victims' jerseys and candles, "to show our love for Caleb, Ronin and Parker."

Janella Hamilton/CBC
Janella Hamilton/CBC

Fellow hockey player Jonathan Soares and Mackenzie Hopkins were among dozens of people who attended the memorial Sunday.  

"They were all super nice, super kind loving kids," Soares said. "They played their minds out."

"It's so terrible to see them gone," Hopkins said, adding they had a big impact on their community. "I'll never forget them."

Condolences from far and wide

The Edmonton Oil Kings hockey team issued condolences to the teens' families in a statement.

General manager Kirt Hill described Reimer, 16, who was drafted to the team, as "a young man with a bright future both on and off the ice. He was a person that you loved to be around, he was a great teammate and a great friend.

"I will never forget the first phone call we had the day we drafted him to the organization and the excitement of Caleb on the other end of the line," Hill said.

The Western Hockey League's Vancouver Giants junior hockey team sent condolences to the three players' families over the weekend, as did the Kamloops Blazers, Prince Albert Raiders, Powell River Kings and other regional hockey teams.

Shane MacKichan for CBC
Shane MacKichan for CBC

Tali Campbell, general manager of the B.C. Hockey League's Coquitlam Express Junior "A" Hockey Club, said he met Magnuson and Sharma through training camps, and he expressed his condolences to the families of all three players.

"When I got the news and heard who it was, your heart just breaks for their families, their friends, their teammates and the whole community," Campbell told CBC News. "The hockey community is small.

"These three young men had a full life ahead of them — a full hockey career and life after hockey. It's devastating news obviously when any life is lost, especially young people who have bright futures."

Kevin Gallant's teenage son played hockey with two of the victims, Reimer and Magnuson, in Cloverdale, and was friends with all three players.

  These three young men had a full life ahead of them — a full hockey career and life after hockey - Tali Campbell, general manager, Coquitlam Express Hockey Club 

"Such unthinkable tragedy today, the loss of three teenagers is staggering," Gallant wrote on Facebook on Saturday. "All three went to Delta Hockey Academy and it was certain all three would make a positive mark in this world."

The Surrey Eagles hockey team tweeted that "even though we play for different teams, the hockey community truly is one big family" and said its members are "heartbroken."

In an interview, Surrey RCMP Cpl. Vanessa Munn said the victims were 16 and 17 years old.

"This is just a tragedy, and even more tragic being that it involved three youths," Munn said. "I'm sure the community as a whole is going to feel a great sense of loss."

The cause of the crash was not yet known.

Police are asking witnesses to contact Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502 or Crime Stoppers, if they wish to remain anonymous, at 1-800-222-8477 or www.solvecrime.ca.

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