As friends, family and even strangers continue to mourn the lives of those lost in a fatal bus crash over the weekend, Vanier Collegiate High School in Moose Jaw got together Sunday night to cherish the memories they have with a former student during a candlelight vigil.
Many of the students and staff of Vanier knew the players on the Humboldt Broncos who passed. All of them knew past Moose Jaw General Evan Thomas, who has attended Vanier during his time with the AAA hockey team.
Students organized a candlelight vigil for the 15 who had died, and with the help of some of Vanier staff, made a liturgy and prayer service to remember and honour the players and to keep their families in mind.
"The kids, they were motivated and they were hurting and they needed a place to heal and we're lucky that we are in a community where we can do that," said Vanier teacher Samantha Douglas.
Along with the service, they also planned a balloon releasing with the names of those who passed and read a biography of each person, describing the type of person they were and how they are remembered by others. After the balloons were released, those attending gathered in Sion Hall in Vanier to watch the vigil held in Humboldt.
A tragedy like this hit close to home for Vanier, especially with Evan Thomas being a past student.
"Hockey is a family, especially here at Vanier we see a lot of hockey players and it doesn't take long to find somebody you're connected to," Douglas said. "The support of the hockey community really shows how much of a family we are and we're so grateful to be a part of that family."
The passing of Evan came as a shock to many, as he is still fondly remembered long after he had left Moose Jaw.
"Evan was great. I was lucky to do study hall with the Generals," Douglas recalled her experiences with Evan. "He was kind, he was generous, he was funny, so funny. He's really smart, I talk about about him all the time, he's one of my smartest math students. He always beat me at chess and checkers. It's tough. He loved his team and he loved being a part of the team. He's definitely a part of Vanier and he will be sorely missed."
Please Note: This was held before it was revealed the body of 18-year-old Parker Tobin was misidentified as 18-year-old Xavier Labelle.