The teammates of Calgary Stampeder Mylan Hicks are “grief stricken” and “hurting” after learning of his death, according to general manager John Hufnagel.
Players said they felt like they lost a family member at a news conference Sunday afternoon.
Hicks died early Sunday morning during a shooting at the Marquee Beer Market in southeast Calgary, hours after the team won against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Saturday.
It was their 10th straight win, but to players, the night turned into a major loss.
“Everyone was talking about when was the next time we were going to lose and it was last night, we lost,” quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell told reporters.
Hicks, a 23-year-old Detroit native, was a defensive back on the practice roster for the Stamps.
WATCH: Calgary Stampeders general manager John Hufnagel comments the death of one of his players Mylan Hicks in a fatal shooting in a night club
Defensive back Joshua Bell said he hung out with Hicks around once a week, and considered him a little brother or a son.
Bell was crying as he spoke at the conference.
He said he was out with Hicks and a few other players to celebrate their recent win with him, but didn’t see the incident.
“He was family,” Bell said. “He was definitely family.”
Hufnagel called Hicks a team player, and said he would have had a bright future in football.
“Mylan was the type of person you want in your locker room,” Hufnagel said. “He worked hard every day to get better”
“He truly just cared about making the team better,” Mitchell said.
Hufnagel said the players have had the opputunity to speak with the team chaplan as well as Calgary’s victim assistance support team (VAST) to help players through the healing process.
“We’re leaning on each other right now,” Bell said. “We’ll hold together.”
Players said Hicks’ locker will remain up for the rest of the season and they’ll try to honour Hicks on the field as the season continues.
“We’re going to play for him and his family,” Mitchell said.
“One thing we will do is celebrate his life,” Bell said. “We should take the positives and the good from him, the experience of knowing Mylan Hicks and we should engrain it in us going forward.”