More than 3,000 attend Humboldt Broncos hockey player funeral

Humboldt Broncos hockey player Evan Thomas remembered in Saskatoon

Evan Thomas ate Fruit Loops for breakfast, went to the rink for a skate, then had a nap before boarding the Humboldt Broncos bus for a playoff game.

During the April 6 highway drive to Nipawin, Sask., the 18-year-old exchanged messages on Snapchat with friends.

The messages stopped about 5 p.m.

Scott Thomas recounted his son’s last moments at a memorial service Monday in the family’s hometown of Saskatoon.

RELATED: Tom Cochrane reworks lyrics to honour Humboldt Broncos

“His friend and teammate Brayden Camrud has told us one of the last things he remembers is looking at the front of the bus, seeing Evan pull his dress shirt on, tie on, flip his fingers through his hair and the lights went out,” said Thomas.

He told the crowd that his son died of multiple skull fractures.

“We’ve been told that he died instantly. He did not suffer. There is some peace in that.”

Evan Thomas was one of 16 killed when the bus and a semi truck hauling peat moss collided at a rural intersection north of Tisdale. Thirteen others were injured, including Camrud, and several remain in hospital.

RELATED: Sister reflects on life of brother, Humboldt Broncos head coach

Scott Thomas said that his son’s cellphone was recovered after the crash and there wasn’t a scratch on it. And his body, except for his head, was in near perfect condition.

“My opinion is it was because Evan was standing — simply standing, putting his suit on. He was struck by the upper cabinets of the bus and killed instantly,” he said.

“That’s how random this was. Sitting, standing, front, back. Completely random. And vicious.”

Thomas said he has given up asking himself why the accident happened.

An outpouring of grief and support from people around the world has helped ease some of the pain, he said.

“It could have happened on any bus on any stretch on any road in any part of Canada to any hockey team,” he said. ”I think that is why it has ripped through everybody so hard.”

About 3,000 people attended the service at SaskTel Centre, where friends and former teammates donned jerseys with the name Thomas on the back and raised hockey sticks over the heads of his family members as they walked by.

REALTED: The first of 16. Funeral for play-by-play announcer of Humboldt Broncos

Dozens of audio and video tributes described a humble and respectful young man who wanted a career in medicine because he wanted to help others. He could pull 95 per cent in almost any subject, with little effort. And he won a top science award in Grade 11.

Some said Thomas, also known as E.T., had a wicked sense of humour. He perfected making Kraft Dinner, which he usually ate out of a pot. And he was addicted to Tim Hortons iced cappuccinos.

He loved hockey but also played baseball and, no matter the sport, was a dedicated teammate.

“My grandson was one of a kind,” said Marg Ellard.

Thomas lived with Ellard for two seasons when he played hockey in Moose Jaw. He snuck his girlfriend in through a basement window, unplugged the home’s security camera and hosted parties, she said.

He also passed his driver’s licence on his first try, she added. And she would give anything to have him back again.

Camrud, 19, received minor injuries in the crash and has attended the funerals of his teammates in between visiting those still in hospital.

He plans to play hockey again once he’s fully healed.

“I’m sure that’s what they would want,” Camrud said after the memorial.

“I’m going to play for them and I’m going to think about each and every one of them when I step out onto the ice.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Cutest pet contest winner: Abi

Cutest pet in the South Okanagan-Similkameen winner for July 13

Contest: Send us your cute pet photos

Email us photos of your pets in the South Okanagan-Similkameen

Keremeos RCMP crackdown on impaired drivers

RCMP charged another impaired driver earlier this week

Cyclist attempts to break Pan-America world record

German cyclist Jonas Deichmann is travelling through B.C. to Alaska. He plans to begin his attempt on Aug. 18.

Interior Health against needle buyback programs

IH issues formal release stating buyback programs are not feasible

France doubles up Croatia 4-2 to win World Cup

Played in Moscow Russia, latest Fifa World Cup marks the highest scoring final since 1966

Your reviews: John Fogerty rocks the South Okanagan

Photos and reviews from fans in Penticton at John Fogerty’s concert in the SOEC

B.C. VIEWS: Making private health care illegal again

Adrian Dix battles to maintain Cuba-style medical monopoly

Almost every part of Canada’s largest national park deteriorating: federal study

Drawing on decades of research — the report lists 50 pages of citations

Activists protest outside Kinder Morgan terminal in kayaks, canoes

Tsleil-Waututh elder Ta’ah Amy George led the water ceremony from a traditional Coast Salish canoe

Canadian soccer fans brace for World Cup final between France, Croatia

First ever final for the Croatians, while it’s France’s third, going into match as betting favourite

B.C. Lions claw their way back to score 20-17 victory over Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Bombers, who beat the Lions 41-19 last week in Edmonton, fell to 2-3 with the loss

High winds, lack of rain suggest no breaks in sight for B.C. wildfire season

There were 11 new wildfires across the province over 24 hours, BC Wildfire Service officials say

CJ’s Nightclub may be reopening in August under new ownership

Facebook posts suggest the longtime night club is set to reopen in August, also hiring staff

Most Read