December 16, 2017 7:01 pm
Updated: December 17, 2017 11:51 am

Ryder and Radek MacDougall remembered at memorial hockey game in Whitecourt

WATCH ABOVE: Hundreds of people packed the Whitecourt arena for a memorial hockey game in honour of Ryder and Radek MacDougall, the brothers who were killed one year ago. Kim Smith reports.

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The ice on the Whitecourt arena filled up with emotional messages of love and support for Ryder and Radek MacDougall, the Alberta brothers who were killed one year ago.

Ryder was just 13 years old and Radek just 11 when they were murdered in Spruce Grove.

On Saturday, the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Whitecourt Wolverines paid tribute to the boys, who both played hockey and adored the game.

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READ MORE: Special Whitecourt Wolverines hockey game will pay tribute to slain brothers 

“Knowing Ryder and Radek — two special boys — just the passion they had for the game of hockey and how much they loved it [and] for Brent and Tracy, being involved in the game of hockey, I think it’s the perfect event to have,” former Wolverines head coach Joey Bouchard said.

Tracy and Brent Stark are the owners of the Wolverines. They’re also the boys’ mother and stepfather.

Their messages to Ryder and Radek on the ice Saturday were written in special blue and green paint.

“You are loved and missed so much. Proud to be your mom,” read Tracy’s.

“This is your day boys,” Brent’s said.

Watch below: Two young hockey players are being remembered at a memorial hockey game Saturday. Dec. 19 will mark one year since Ryder and Radek MacDougall were killed. Kim Smith has more from Whitecourt.

READ MORE: Hockey tournament pays tribute to boys killed in Spruce Grove murder-suicide

Friends, teammates, Wolverines players and community members were invited to write their own message to the boys on the ice prior to Saturday night’s game.

“You name it, anyone who’s ever interacted with Ryder and Radek and Brent and Tracy have been out here,” the team’s communications manager Andrew Peard said.

“We want to make sure their memory and legacy lives on,” he said. “This is also a great opportunity for our community to show love and support to Tracy and Brent during the holiday season, which is obviously a very tough time for them.

“It was tough for everybody in Whitecourt,” Peard said. “It’s something that’s unfathomable. The community has rallied and because, I think, Tracy Stark has been at the front of that. She’s just a pillar of strength.

“She’s really led the charge in the healing… it’s unbelievable to see the strength and courage that she’s shown.”

READ MORE: Family of boys found murdered west of Edmonton speak at vigil: ‘Never forget them’

As the one-year mark approached, the team’s liaison officer saw another team do a similar memorial with paint on the ice and approached Tracy about it. She was on-board.

The messages were sealed under the ice and visible during the game.

“The rink staff have been fantastic,” Peard said. “They shaved about three layers of ice off, then we’ll put the paint in, and then the rink staff is going to come in, seal up all the messages and put three more layers of ice over top.

“They’ll be able to stay in for the game tonight and it’ll be just a fantastic sight to see.”

The team also unveiled a new third jersey to honour Ryder and Radek, which displayed a heart with the letters ‘R’ and ‘R’. People in the stands held electric candles during the memorial.

The Wolverines then faced off against the Spruce Grove Saints.

“It kind of just ended up working out with the way the league did the schedule,” Peard said. “We wanted to do it around this time of year and it’s our last home game before our Christmas break and it’s the Spruce Grove Saints who are in town.

“So, [it’s] a way for that team and that community to take part in the night as well.”

READ MORE: Memorial grows for 2 boys in Spruce Grove; RCMP confirm murder-suicide

Spruce Grove is the city where Ryder and Radek were found dead inside a home, along with their 39-year-old father, Corry MacDougall.

While the RCMP never confirmed exactly what happened, they said the deaths were the result of a murder-suicide and that the boys were victims. Police did not describe the father as a victim.

— With files from Global’s Phil Heidenreich

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