Nfld. & Labrador

Clarenville hockey player honoured on ice following Christmas tragedy

Each member of the Clarenville Caribous Atom hockey team wore the name Wilcox on the back of their jerseys Saturday, in memory of their teammate Joshua Wilcox.

Joshua Wilcox's life remembered ahead of Minor Hockey Week tournament

Joshua Wilcox's teammates wear his name on their jerseys during the opening ceremonies of Minor Hockey Week's kickoff tournament. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Each player on the Clarenville Caribous Atom team lined up at centre ice Saturday afternoon before the start of Minor Hockey Week's kickoff tournament with one name on the back of their jerseys — Wilcox. 

Ten-year-old Joshua Wilcox's life is being honoured this weekend, both on and off the ice, after he died in Clarenville on Christmas Day. 

"Us as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, we are one big family. We come together when there is a challenging time … the darkest times," said Dr. Jared Butler, vice-president and medical director of Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador.

Dr. Jared Butler, vice-president and medical director of Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador, says he hopes the family knows how much the community loves and supports them. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Along with wearing Joshua's name on the back of their jerseys, the team has also hung his jersey in their dressing room and brought in his hockey bag.

We need time to heal a little bit and then we will move forward.​- Steven Thistle

His parents dropped the puck Saturday afternoon at the opening ceremonies.

"I hope the family felt that everyone in this building today and everyone across this province of Newfoundland and Labrador are standing with them and are supporting them and are behind them 110 per cent," said Butler.

Wilcox's parents drop the ceremonial puck Saturday afternoon. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Wilcox was riding on a side-by-side with his father on Christmas Day when the machine broke through the ice on a small gully in Clarenville. After an hour under the ice, the 10-year-old boy was rescued but died later in hospital.

The club is also still grieving the loss of 15-year-old Darian Hunt, who died in May after battling leukemia for three years.

"We need time to heal a little bit and then we will move forward," said Steven Thistle, president of Clarenville Minor Hockey.

"This is important to these young kids to commemorate Joshua." 

Steven Thistle, president of the Clarenville Minor Hockey Association, says everyone needs some time to heal. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Thistle said the support the hockey league has received from people living in the province and outside has been amazing. He said a team in Alberta held a commemorative ceremony yesterday for the 10-year-old, and American teams are sending their condolences. 

He said the community has suffered a tremendous loss but it is important to keep moving forward.

"You can't stop going but you try and help out and support the family and support the players as best we can. That is what we are doing here this weekend," Thistle said.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Katie Breen