Tributes are pouring in for the three young hockey players killed in a single-vehicle crash in Surrey early Saturday morning.
Friends and family have identified the trio as Caleb Reimer, Ronin Sharma and Parker Magnuson, who died when their car crashed into a tree near 104 Avenue near 160 Street.
“I really loved those guys like my own. They were really brothers to me and I hope they are watching from up above,” said Jerome Maharaj, a friend who had previously played with all three.
“They were outstanding hockey players,” he added. “We’ve just got to play for them now.”
A growing memorial including heartfelt notes, flowers and hockey sticks now sits at the site of the crash, and a steady stream of mourners arrived throughout Saturday and Sunday to add to it.
The tragedy has stunned the youth hockey community in the Lower Mainland and beyond.
Sharma, 16, played for the BCHL Langley Rivermen, and on Saturday, the team gave its condolences to his family and friends.
“We lost a young man who made each and every one of our lives better as well as brighter every day he came to play the game we all love,” the team said in a statement.
“We will miss you Ronin. May you rest in peace.”
Reimer, also 16, had been recently signed to the WHL Edmonton Oil Kings. That team issued its own statement in the wake of the tragedy.
“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,” general manager and president of hockey operations Kirt Hill wrote.
“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.”
In a statement, the WHL wrote that it was “shocked and saddened” to learn of the crash, and offering its “heartfelt condolences” to Reimer’s family, teammates and friends.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this very difficult time,” reads a statement from the league.
And, in a demonstration of just how far the impact of the crash has spread through the local hockey community, the Vancouver Canucks also issued a statement.
“The Canucks organization is heartbroken to hear about the passing of Caleb Reimer, Ronin Sharma and Parker Magnuson,” wrote the team.
“We send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and coaches during this difficult time.”
The cause of the crash remains under investigation, and a stretch of 104 Avenue was closed for most of Saturday as collision experts reviewed the scene.
“They were great hockey players, but more importantly they were better friends,” Maharaj said.
“I loved them all like my brothers, it’s hard to lose them like this.”