Humboldt Broncos player Graysen Cameron returns to Olds for start of lacrosse season

It was an emotional start to the lacrosse season for members of the Olds Mavericks on Friday.

The former Olds Mavericks player was injured in the April 6 bus crash that killed 16 people

Former Olds Maverick Graysen Cameron signs a piece of artwork before the team's lacrosse season opener on Friday while artist Clint Jackson looks on. Cameron is a member of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team and was one of 13 injured in a bus crash earlier this month that killed 16. (CBC)

It was an emotional start to the lacrosse season for members of the Olds Mavericks on Friday.

Prior to their Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League season opener against the Saskatchewan Swat, the team was joined by former Maverick Graysen Cameron, one of 13 people injured in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash that also killed 16 people earlier this month in Saskatchewan.

The 18-year-old was applauded as he walked onto the rink, joining his former teammates who were each wearing a jersey with "Cameron" across the back.

"It was pretty special to honour me like that. It's just really humbling, all the guys and all the support," he said afterward.

Cameron called the homecoming bittersweet.

"It's nice being home around family and stuff, but it's definitely hard being away from the rest of the teammates back in Saskatchewan," he said.

The Swat won the game 13-10.

Olds Mavericks captain Kurtis Goller played with Graysen Cameron for three years. (CBC)

Kurtis Goller, captain of the Mavericks, played with Cameron for three years.

He says the team wanted him to know how much he means to them.

"It's been a little emotional, we're all really close with him, so it's been touch and go with that, but we're definitely all really ready to represent the Humboldt Broncos and Graysen," Goller said.

Olds Mavericks assistant coach Gary Gaudette said the season opener was an emotional one for the team. (CBC)

Mavericks assistant coach Gary Guadette said Cameron was a big part of the dressing room during his time in Olds.

"We all love the kid," he said. "He's such a leader, we miss him dearly, we wish he was here playing with us."

Cameron says he's not done with hockey and one day he'd like to return to the ice — but this time, as a coach.

Olds artist Clint Jackson also unveiled an airbrush painting at the event. The faces of the 16 victims are painted on a set of angel wings.

Jackson is travelling to Humboldt this weekend to deliver the artwork, and said he couldn't stop thinking about the tragedy.

"I had a son in a severe accident last year and I felt hopelessness in my heart so I was honoured to do something to help the families heal," he said. 

Daryl Lowey and Clint Jackson look at a piece of airbrushed art Jackson created for the Humboldt Broncos. (CBC)

He said he was encouraged to make the piece by his friend Daryl Lowey, who served as a volunteer trainer for the Broncos some 30 years ago.

"I care about the town and wanted to do something for the entire community," he said. "Something that would be everlasting, something that would provide them with some closure and help a community heal."

With files from Lucie Edwardson