Edmonton Oil Kings ‘deeply saddened’ by death of hockey player Caleb Reimer

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WATCH ABOVE: Condolences from leagues and teammates are pouring in following the tragic death of Edmonton Oil King Caleb Reimer. He was one three teens killed in a crash in Surrey, B.C. As Chris Chacon reports, those who knew him say he will be greatly missed – Aug 22, 2021

The Edmonton Oil Kings are extending their condolences following the death of 16-year-old player Caleb Reimer, who was one of three teens killed in a collision in British Columbia early Saturday morning.

At around 2:45 a.m. Saturday, Reimer and fellow up-and-coming hockey players Ronin Sharma and Parker Magnuson died when their car crashed into a tree in Surrey, B.C.

Read more: Three teens killed in Surrey crash identified as up-and-coming hockey players

Reimer, a Surrey native, joined the Oil Kings organization in 2019 after being drafted 18th overall in that year’s WHL Prospects Draft.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Caleb Reimer at the age of 16,” Oil Kings president of hockey operations and general manager Kirt Hill said in a statement Sunday.

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“Caleb was a young man with a bright future both on and off the ice. He was a person that you loved to be around, he was a great teammate and a great friend.”

Caleb Reimer and Ronin Sharma. Courtesy, Adriana D'Alessandro

Hill said he will never forget the first phone call he had with Reimer the day the Oil Kings drafted him to the organization. Hill said he could feel the excitement from the teen on the other end of the line.

“We will all remember his first WHL goal at the DCA and the pure joy and excitement that followed in his celebration with his teammates. We will truly miss having Caleb in our lives each and every day. He was part of our family and will be a tremendous loss in all of our hearts.”

Teammate and friend Jake Neighbours said he was shocked to learn of Reimer’s death, adding it still doesn’t feel real.

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“I’ve been on the phone with numerous guys over the last day and a bit, and obviously, sending messages to all my teammates and making sure everyone’s OK. I think we’re all taking it the same way,” Neighbours said Sunday.

“(He) was a great kid with such a bright spirit around our dressing room, and everyone was very fond of him. For us to lose a guy like that is obviously very heartbreaking. I know the guys and myself are taking it pretty harshly.”

Read more: Tributes pour in for trio of young hockey players killed in Surrey crash

Neighbours said last year was Reimer’s first full year with the Oil Kings. Being in COVID-19 protocols forced the team to spend a lot of time together, a time in which Neighbours said he got to know Reimer well.

“He was definitely a very close friend of me and a lot of others, and even though he was only there for one season, I felt like I knew him much longer.”

He described Reimer as a great kid with a passion for hockey — a guy who was always looking to improve his game.

“I can’t emphasize enough how positive of a kid he was, and the impact he had on all of us — and even me — as a young kid was awesome. He will be missed.”

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Neighbours said he hasn’t reached out to Reimer’s family yet to give them space.

“I can’t imagine what they’re going through, to lose someone so young.”

The head coach of the Oil Kings issued a statement late Sunday afternoon saying the last 24 have been extremely difficult.

“Caleb Reimer had a bright future ahead and it was rewarding as a coach to see him develop as a person,” Brad Lauer said. “Despite a shortened schedule, Caleb showed huge improvement in his first season.

“Remembering his first WHL goal — the excitement that he had, the exuberant reaction from his teammates — it was obvious that in a short time he became an integral part of our group.”

Lauer described Reimer as “one of those kids you love to coach.”

“Always a smile on his face and was excited to be part of our team. He was driven to succeed and was an exceptional athlete — a player who makes your whole team better in his presence. He will be greatly missed by the coaches and the entire Oil Kings organization. To lose him at such a young age is difficult to process. My thoughts and prayers are with Caleb’s family, and the families of Ronin Sharma and Parker Magnuson, at this tragic time.”

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WHL commission Ron Robison also issued a statement Sunday, saying the entire league is shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic loss.

“The WHL extends its heartfelt condolences to Caleb’s family, his teammates on the Oil Kings and previously with the Delta Hockey Academy and his many friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time.”

The cause of the collision remains under investigation.

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