The Edmonton sports community is mourning the loss of Rob Zittlau and his wife Grace, who were killed in a collision over the weekend.
Just before 5 p.m. on Oct. 11, Morinville RCMP responded to a crash at the intersection of Highway 651 and Highway 803, where a southbound car collided with an eastbound SUV.
RCMP said there were four people in the car. The two adults were killed. Two young children — a six-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy — were taken to hospital.
The driver and passenger in the SUV suffered non-life-threatening injuries, RCMP said.
Zittlau was a familiar face in the Edmonton sports scene. He headed up ICU Video Productions for 25 years, a local company that specialized in amateur sports coverage and coaching footage.
“Everything is still pretty raw right now and we’re trying to figure out which way is up,” said David Foley, the technical co-ordinator for ICU Video and Zittlau’s right-hand man.
“We don’t know what’s coming next. I mean, it’s a huge void.
“You don’t take the rudder off the ship and just assume it’s going to carry on. There was so much that he did just as part of him being him.”
Foley described Zittlau as a dedicated, special man with a passion and commitment to amateur sports and athletes.
“We had a slogan for the company which was: ‘We videotape amateur sports professionally.’ That’s what it was all about… reaching your arm around them and lifting them up,” he said.
“It was just our job to get out of the way of the story, let the production values basically become invisible, and tell the story of whatever the sport was, whatever the game was.”
Edmonton Prospects head coach Jordan Blundell agrees Zittlau’s impact expanded beyond one sport.
“If you are involved in amateur sports here in this community, you probably crossed paths with Rob, and that’s all these sports. His reach is bigger than the baseball community, it’s bigger than the football community, it’s all these communities.
“And to have the type of reputation he has over the whole landscape is what Rob was. He was that guy.
“It’s an unbelievable loss… I’m really fortunate that I got to meet Rob. He’s inspirational.”
Tim Enger, the executive director of Football Alberta, said he’ll remember how committed Zittlau was to the game.
“He certainly was passionate about football. Some of the weather conditions he and his crew would put up with just to make sure they did a good job.”
Enger said he is finding it hard to imagine what Edmonton football looks like without Zittlau.
“I don’t even know where we’re going to start,” he said. “He was so ingrained with ourselves, Football Alberta, the high school metro leagues, junior teams in town. I know many other sports as well, the Prospects, the U of A Golden Bear teams.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do without him.”