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Families issue statement on fire that injured Alberta players: ‘alcohol was not a factor’

Click to play video: 'Lethbridge Hurricanes centre Ryan Vandervlis in medically induced coma following fire at party' Lethbridge Hurricanes centre Ryan Vandervlis in medically induced coma following fire at party
Mon, Jun 18: Lethbridge Hurricanes team captain Jordy Bellerive and alumnus Matt Alfaro are recovering after RCMP say a substance thrown on a fire late Friday night exploded. Teammate Ryan Vandervlis remained in critical condition on Monday. Sarah Offin has details – Jun 18, 2018

Two families and the Western Hockey League commissioner released statements on Monday after two Lethbridge Hurricanes hockey players and one former player were seriously injured in a campfire near Calgary on Friday.

In a news release, the Lethbridge Hurricanes Hockey Club and the Western Hockey League said they are deeply saddened by the events involving Jordy Bellerive, Ryan Vandervlis and WHL alumnus Matt Alfaro.

The joint statement said all three suffered “various injuries resulting from an incident involving the starting of a campfire on the evening of Friday, June 15.”

All three are being treated at a Calgary hospital.

Alfaro, 21, and Bellerive, 19, are in stable condition and Vandervlis, 20, has been placed in a medically induced coma and is in critical condition, according to the release.

RCMP confirmed Sunday they were investigating an “incident” in which three people were injured when “a substance was placed into a fire pit that caused an explosion.”

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RCMP said Monday alcohol was being consumed at the party but they do not believe it was a factor in the explosion.

READ MORE: Alberta hockey players injured at bachelor party near Calgary: RCMP investigating 

The Hurricanes and WHL stressed: “It has been reported that the campfire occurred during a bachelor party. These reports are inaccurate. The campfire occurred at the family home of WHL alumnus Tyler Wong the evening prior to a planned day of golf.”

Sources told Global News the incident happened at a bachelor party, however the families involved say this was not the case.

“We want to be clear that alcohol was not a factor in this accident,” the Vandervlis family said in a statement.

“Ryan is in a medically induced coma as he suffered severe burns to his body. He is receiving exceptional medical care in an intensive-care unit in Calgary where he remains in critical condition.

“We are grateful and overwhelmed by the amount of love and support we have received and pray that Ryan will make a full recovery,” Barb, Rene, Cara, Sean and Rachel Vandervlis said.

Three hockey players remain in hospital and one of them is fighting for his life, after the trio suffered serious burn injuries at a bonfire outside Calgary June 15, 2018. Credit: Lethbridge Hurricanes

The Wong family said nine friends were at their house on Friday and were planning to stay overnight before a day of golf and camping on Saturday.

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“In starting a campfire, the accident occurred. Mr. and Mrs. Wong were present and acted quickly to transport those injured to a Calgary hospital. We are earnestly praying for three of Tyler’s closest friends — Ryan, Jordy and Matt — along with their families, for comfort and healing during this time of hurt,” the family’s statement reads.

A spokesperson for Calgary EMS told Global News that the trio was initially transported by a private vehicle to the outskirts of Calgary where paramedics were able to meet them and continue transport to Foothills Hospital by ambulance.

WHL Commissioner Rob Robison also issued a statement on Monday.

“The entire WHL family is deeply concerned for the well-being of the three players involved in the accident that occurred Friday evening.

“The WHL has been in contact with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and will continue to support the club and the families concerned during the recovery process.”

The Pittsburgh Penguins said they’ve been in contact with prospect Bellerive, who is “in good spirits and expected to make a full recovery.”

Alfaro’s team, the University of Calgary Dinos, also posted a statement on Twitter.

“Dinos representatives have been in communication with the Alfaro family as Matt recovers in a Calgary hospital,” said the Dinos. “We appreciate the support expressed for Matt and the two representatives of the Lethbridge Hurricanes involved.”

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The team will hold a news conference Tuesday in Lethbridge.

— With files from The Canadian Press

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