Humboldt Broncos hockey player Evan Thomas remembered in Saskatoon
Thousands gather at SaskTel Centre to honour rookie player
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.
Scott Thomas recounted his son's last moments at a memorial service Monday in the family's hometown of Saskatoon.
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."
They are all Thomas today at SaskTel Centre. <a href="https://t.co/mHde9BZPRc">pic.twitter.com/mHde9BZPRc</a>—@dannyzcbc
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."
Evan’s last home game is today at <a href="https://twitter.com/SaskTelCtr?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SaskTelCtr</a> . Doors open at 12 and puck drops at 1:00. In the starting lineup is #17 Evan Thomas, a special player who played the game the right way, on and off the ice. ❤️ <a href="https://twitter.com/ctvsaskatoon?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ctvsaskatoon</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/GlobalSaskatoon?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@GlobalSaskatoon</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/CBCSaskatoon?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CBCSaskatoon</a>—@ET_Memorial
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."
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.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/humboldtstrong?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#humboldtstrong</a> <a href="https://t.co/mg8jmuWVK9">pic.twitter.com/mg8jmuWVK9</a>—@ET_Memorial
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.
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.
With files from CBC's Dan Zakreski