More than a thousand people paid their respects at the funeral for Humboldt Broncos goalie Parker Tobin in Stony Plain on Sunday.
Tobin was originally thought to have survived the tragic bus crash near Tisdale, Sask. that killed 16 people, but it was later discovered that the coroner made a mistake when identifying the young man. He was honoured by friends, family and teammates at the service Sunday afternoon.
Nine pallbearers, who all appeared to be in their late teens, carried the casket into the silent Glenn Hall Centennial Arena. It was placed next to Tobin's framed jersey and was signed by attendees.
People remembered the 18-year-old goalie as an intelligent, talented, multi-sport athlete with a great sense of humour — always smiling from ear to ear.
"His leadership shined in and out of sports," said family friend Jeff Cox. He shared memories of playing hockey with Tobin on outdoor rinks in –20 C weather.
Tobin's teachers and peers from Memorial Composite High School remembered him as an honours student with a kind heart. They said he was always ready to learn, train and give back to the community.
"You couldn't separate who Parker was as a hockey player from who he was as a student," staff member Karen Wendel said on behalf of the school. "He made the classroom a better place."
And who could forget the outrageous outfits he sported in gym class — short shorts and high socks paired with a tight shirt — "like a Richard Simmons knock-off," family friend Barb Potter said as attendees laughed at the memory.
People shared stories about his caring and compassionate nature, recalling that he used to invite kids in his neighbourhood to play street hockey. He always encouraged young goalies to pursue their dreams, and helped teammates on the road with their homework.
His best friend and fellow goalie Brandon Ewanchyshyn said Tobin had a positive outlook on life.
Whenever there was a game where Ewanchyshyn let a few too many pucks slip past him, Tobin would say, "Don't worry, we'll get them next time."
Ewanchyshyn said he'll miss Tobin's "famous one-line chirps" and "insane academic abilities."
Ewanchyshyn's grandmother made the Tobin family a green and yellow quilt that featured photos of the young athlete. It laid on top of the casket during the service.
Many of the stories told were followed by a song — one called "Drink a Beer" that featured the lyric "Funny how the good ones go too soon, but the good Lord knows the reasons why."
Stony Plain mayor William Choy said the community is grieving the loss together.
"I can't imagine, as a father myself, to go through that range of emotions. But the community is here to support the Tobin's any way possible," Choy said.
"It's just been devastating for our community. The Tobin family has been heavily involved in our community, and this is just a big loss for us."