Mylan Hicks’ locker has not been cleaned out, his No. 31 has been worn on game days all season by teammate Jamar Wall and his presence is tangible to many of his Calgary Stampeders’ teammates.
Now his energy is even more real at the 104th Grey Cup, as his mother Renee Hill was at the game.
Hill visited the team before the game began in Toronto against the Ottawa Redblacks and was given a seat along the sidelines right behind their bench.
It’s a story that made national headlines at the end of September, when Calgary Stampeder Mylan Hicks was shot outside a nightclub, allegedly trying to break up a fight.
Hicks’ memory is especially vivid for his roommate Osagie Odiase, who has kept Hicks room exactly as he left it; with his Michigan stuff still on his bed beside the folder from training camp.
Hicks’ family came to Calgary days after the incident and the strength shown by all, especially his mother Renee Hill, is something the team still talks about.
“She stayed after and hugged every single player. Maybe even twice. When you have a lady that strong come in, and be able to handle that situation the way she did, it’s like ‘you gotta be strong too.’ You can’t be weak in that situation, because look at her-that’s the mother. And look how strong she is,” Osagie Odiase said .
WATCH BELOW: Parents of Mylan Hicks arrive in Calgary to warm embrace from Stampeders organization
The Stampeders’ organization often talks about how Hill adopted all of them in the days and months following Hicks’ death.
That strength in the face of tragedy has inspired the team throughout the season as now they are intent on winning a Grey Cup ring for his mother.
“Everyone wants to give his mom that ring. That’s our No. 1 purpose. We want that ring ourselves of course. But we need to make this an extremely special year,” said Wall.
The preliminary trial for the man accused of shooting Hicks, Nelson Tony Lugela, will begin May 29, 2017.
With files from Brendan Parker.