More than 3,000 attend Humboldt Broncos hockey player funeral

Humboldt Broncos hockey player Evan Thomas remembered in Saskatoon

Evan Thomas ate Fruit Loops for breakfast, went to the rink for a skate, then had a nap before boarding the Humboldt Broncos bus for a playoff game.

During the April 6 highway drive to Nipawin, Sask., the 18-year-old exchanged messages on Snapchat with friends.

The messages stopped about 5 p.m.

Scott Thomas recounted his son’s last moments at a memorial service Monday in the family’s hometown of Saskatoon.

RELATED: Tom Cochrane reworks lyrics to honour Humboldt Broncos

“His friend and teammate Brayden Camrud has told us one of the last things he remembers is looking at the front of the bus, seeing Evan pull his dress shirt on, tie on, flip his fingers through his hair and the lights went out,” said Thomas.

He told the crowd that his son died of multiple skull fractures.

“We’ve been told that he died instantly. He did not suffer. There is some peace in that.”

Evan Thomas was one of 16 killed when the bus and a semi truck hauling peat moss collided at a rural intersection north of Tisdale. Thirteen others were injured, including Camrud, and several remain in hospital.

RELATED: Sister reflects on life of brother, Humboldt Broncos head coach

Scott Thomas said that his son’s cellphone was recovered after the crash and there wasn’t a scratch on it. And his body, except for his head, was in near perfect condition.

“My opinion is it was because Evan was standing — simply standing, putting his suit on. He was struck by the upper cabinets of the bus and killed instantly,” he said.

“That’s how random this was. Sitting, standing, front, back. Completely random. And vicious.”

Thomas said he has given up asking himself why the accident happened.

An outpouring of grief and support from people around the world has helped ease some of the pain, he said.

“It could have happened on any bus on any stretch on any road in any part of Canada to any hockey team,” he said. ”I think that is why it has ripped through everybody so hard.”

About 3,000 people attended the service at SaskTel Centre, where friends and former teammates donned jerseys with the name Thomas on the back and raised hockey sticks over the heads of his family members as they walked by.

REALTED: The first of 16. Funeral for play-by-play announcer of Humboldt Broncos

Dozens of audio and video tributes described a humble and respectful young man who wanted a career in medicine because he wanted to help others. He could pull 95 per cent in almost any subject, with little effort. And he won a top science award in Grade 11.

Some said Thomas, also known as E.T., had a wicked sense of humour. He perfected making Kraft Dinner, which he usually ate out of a pot. And he was addicted to Tim Hortons iced cappuccinos.

He loved hockey but also played baseball and, no matter the sport, was a dedicated teammate.

“My grandson was one of a kind,” said Marg Ellard.

Thomas lived with Ellard for two seasons when he played hockey in Moose Jaw. He snuck his girlfriend in through a basement window, unplugged the home’s security camera and hosted parties, she said.

He also passed his driver’s licence on his first try, she added. And she would give anything to have him back again.

Camrud, 19, received minor injuries in the crash and has attended the funerals of his teammates in between visiting those still in hospital.

He plans to play hockey again once he’s fully healed.

“I’m sure that’s what they would want,” Camrud said after the memorial.

“I’m going to play for them and I’m going to think about each and every one of them when I step out onto the ice.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Dix says B.C. remains focused on fighting youth overdoses in wake of teen’s death

Elliot Eurchuk’s parents say he died at his Oak Bay home after taking street drugs

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

Retired Gordon Head teacher not ready to ride into the sunset

86-year-old keeping active with marathon paddling trek and week-long cycling tour

Parents grieving teen’s overdose death say it started with opioid prescription

Elliot Eurchuk, 16, died at his Oak Bay home Friday, after taking street drugs

‘On the Cusp’ debuts at Victoria store front

Camosun Visual Arts students present new exhibit

UVic’s Gustavson goes carbon neutral for air travel

As a way to offset the frequent airplane travel that comes with… Continue reading

Final week for ALR input

Public consultation process closes April 30

‘When everybody leaves: Counselling key to help Humboldt move on after bus crash

Dealing with life after a tragedy can be the worst part following a loss

Central Saanich, Tsawout taking part in reconciliation ceremony

Blanket event Monday to help foster mutual trust and respect

Ballet Victoria soirée fundraiser a prelude to final show of season

Company winds up its 15th season in the city with Peter Pan next month

Half-naked shooter guns down four, runs away in Nashville Waffle House shooting

Nashville police say they are looking for Travis Reinking in connection with the shooting

Child’s body found in river downstream from where boy went missing during flood

Three-year-old Kaden Young was swept out of his mother’s arms in February

B.C. VIEWS: Eliminating efficiency for farm workers

Don’t worry, NDP says, the B.C. economy’s booming

Most Read