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Pronghorns retire ex-captain’s number after he loses battle with cancer

Pronghorns retire ex-captain’s jersey after he loses battle with cancer
Hundreds of people linked to Lethbridge's hockey community visited Nicholas Sheran Arena on Friday night to pay their respects to a former Pronghorns captain. Brock Hirsche's iconic number 10 will be raised to the rafters following a ceremony before Friday's game. Kyle Benning has more.

It was a moment fit for a captain.

The University of Lethbridge Pronghorns retired number 10, which will soon be hanging in the rafters in honour of Brock Hirsche.

“Brock probably would be a little overwhelmed by all of this. He just wanted to play hockey and make some friends. He was a friend to everyone,” said Brock’s father Tim.

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READ MORE: University of Lethbridge hockey team to retire Brock Hirsche’s jersey number

The Pronghorns centre passed away in April after battling testicular cancer.

He was 26 years old.

Hirsche becomes the first Pronghorns hockey player to have his number retired, something his parents are extremely proud of.

“It’s really special to me. I can’t thank the university enough. It’s just something I never would have expected and it’s really quite comforting,” said his mother Sharla.

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Many former teammates were in attendance for the ceremony before the puck dropped against the University of Calgary Dinos on Friday, including Ryan Aasman.

He played with Hirsche since they were seven years old and says he was one of the toughest guys on the bench.

“We played a lot of games where he had to put his own shoulder back into place just because he wanted to keep going,” Aasman said. “Just that character guy that will go through a wall for just about anybody. I think there were characteristics in Brock that you just don’t find in other people and he was truly amazing that way.”

READ MORE: Lethbridge native Brock Hirsche remembered at celebration of life

Hirsche, who was known as a leader, was given the ‘C’ during his time at the university.

He was also named captain of the Prince George Cougars during a stint in the Western Hockey League.

Hirsche’s legacy will live on in his hometown with a scholarship that bears his name, created just weeks before his death.

READ MORE: Pronghorns captain Brock Hirsche facing battle with testicular cancer

The award will be presented annually to a men’s hockey player who displays the same traits as its namesake.

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“$103,000 and growing scholarship — that’s a legacy that will be here forever. I think that [to]a lot of the guys he played with, you saw how many were here … He’s just that kind of guy. He has that impact on you and he leaves something behind that’s very positive,” said Pronghorns Athletics executive director Ken McInnes.

For Hirsche’s parents, it was a night they won’t soon forget.