As parents, as hockey parents, living in Calgary, we were deeply saddened by the tragic incident involving the Humboldt Broncos team last week. As a hockey photographer, the realization that Adam Herold, the youngest of the athletes to lose his life, was featured in some of the images I made during the Mac’s AAA Midget Tournament has resonated emotionally in me over the days since that terrible bus crash on the roads of Saskatchewan.
As a family, and as a close hockey community, we have shared our emotions in numerous conversations; put our sticks out on the porch for the boys; donned our hockey sweaters to show our solidarity with those families who will continue to be affected by this tragedy for years to come. Just trying to do something and show that we care and think about you.
After careful consideration, I felt compelled to say something through my photographs and a short poem. I didn’t know Adam; rather, I learned a little about his character and his life beyond hockey; something about his progress in youth hockey. How this young defenceman had been scouted by Prince Albert of the Western Hockey League (WHL) but wanted to play a season first in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League with the Humboldt Broncos as he would get some more ice time.
Moments after the Regina Pats won the Mac’s Midget AAA tournament on New Year’s Day at the Scotiabank Saddledome, in Calgary, I went on the ice with the team, capturing their story, feeling the loud emotional release that came with their success. Adam was number ten and the player with the C on his chest. “Congratulations”, I said to him and moved along to photograph some more of his teammates and then go back to him lifting the trophy. Adam would have been celebrating his 17th birthday today.
I saw you play in 10
Skating on the ice
You should be 17 today
To celebrate your life
But the wrong kind of candles
My family and I share our condolences with all of you connected through hockey, family, and friendship with these fine young athletes in the Humboldt Broncos, their coaches, driver, athletic therapist and broadcaster/statistician who passed on from life all too quickly.
More images of the Regina Pats versus Red Deer Optimist Chiefs and other games from the Mac’s AAA Midget Tournament can be seen by following this link to J. Ashley Nixon Communications