A celebration of life was held in Stony Plain, Alta. on Sunday afternoon to honour the memory of Parker Tobin, an 18-year-old hockey player killed when his team bus crashed near Tisdale, Sask. earlier this month.
On April 6, the Humboldt Broncos team bus collided with a semi-truck while en route to a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game. Tobin is among 16 people who have died as a result of the crash, while others who were on the bus remain in hospital.
Sunday’s celebration of life for Tobin was held at the Glenn Hall Arena.
The streets around the arena were covered in yellow and green bows, the team colours of the Humboldt Broncos. The flags outside the arena were at half-mast. A makeshift memorial that included flowers, hockey sticks and messages was also visible outside the arena
At first, Tobin was thought to be one of the survivors of the crash but the coroner’s officer later apologized, saying Tobin was accidentally misidentified as Xavier Labelle and that it was actually Tobin who had been killed. On Tuesday, Saskatchewan health officials said Labelle was recovering in hospital.
Since the misidentification was confirmed, the families of both Tobin and Labelle said they are grieving in solidarity in the wake of the tragic news.
“The families of Parker Tobin and Xavier Labelle are grieving together,” a statement from a family spokesperson said. “They hope the focus will remain on those grieving and those recovering, not the confusion in an unimaginable tragedy.”
The Saskatoon coroner’s officer has apologized for the error.
Memories were shared at the funeral about how Parker listened to financial podcasts while he drove, was interested in a career in business and talked to his teachers as if they were equals.
There was no shortage of tears as he was remembered for a smile that stretched from ear to ear, his willingness to help others and his passion for hockey, including playing outside no matter what the temperature.
There were some laughs as loved ones shared how much he liked to eat, how he was a quick learner, except when it came to riding a bike and how he liked to prank his coaches.
Attendees were told this regarding what they can do in this time – “celebrate Parker and celebrate his love, joy and his smile.”
Mourners were asked to sign Parker’s casket with messages before it was loaded into a waiting hearse.
The hearse then drove down a street lined with yellow and green bows, hockey sticks leaning against trees and hockey nets with jerseys hanging in them. There was also a sign on a house reading “Tobin strong.” A fitting tribute to a young, rising hockey player who touched the lives of many.
Watch below: On April 9, 2018, Jack Haskins filed this report after Parker Tobin was identified as one of the victims in a horrific bus crash in Saskatchewan.
Tobin, who hails from Stony Plain, was the Broncos’ goalie and used to play for the the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Spruce Grove Saints. Earlier this week, the Parkland Athletic Club in Spruce Grove held a vigil for Tobin and fellow Broncos’ teammate Conner Lukan, another former Saint who died in the crash.
Watch below: On April 11, 2018, Kim Smith filed this report as hundreds of people lined up outside a Spruce Grove arena, where a vigil is being held to honour two hockey players killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
Last week, the mayor of Stony Plain issued a statement upon hearing of Tobin’s death.
“We are once again reminded of how fragile life can be and what is truly important in our lives. We offer our sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Parker Tobin, and to everyone impacted by this horrific and traumatic incident. As a community, we mourn with every other community in Canada,” William Choy said.
“The Tobin family is very active in the local hockey community, and they have touched the lives of many. The Town of Stony Plain will support the Tobin family through this difficult and emotional time.”
“Parker was appreciative of all that was done for him and was determined to pass that along to all those he encountered,” Tobin’s obituary reads.”He has and will continue to touch many lives in a positive way.
“After the flowers wilt and ribbons fade, we will remember his terrific sense of humor and his desire to make people happy. Those fond memories will guide us through the difficult times ahead. It seems that he knew his time with us would be short and therefore should not be wasted.”
-With files from Global News’ Rebecca Joseph