Saskatchewan-raised WHL player Kyrell Sopotyk paralyzed in snowboarding accident

·1 min read

A Saskatchewan-raised hockey player has been paralyzed by a snowboarding accident.

Kamloops Blazers forward Kyrell Sopotyk, 19, was injured in a snowboarding accident in Saskatchewan over the weekend, according to the Western Hockey League (WHL).

Sopotyk is from Aberdeen, Saskatchewan. He was drafted to B.C.'s Blazers in 2016.

"Everyone associated with the Western Hockey League is deeply saddened by the devastating news," the WHL said in a statement.

"The WHL and our member clubs extend our thoughts and prayers to Kyrell, the entire Sopotyk family, Kyrell's teammates with the Kamloops Blazers, and all his friends during this challenging time."

A GoFundMe campaign set up on Sunday to raise money for Sopotyk's needs, including possible renovations to his home and health-care costs, has surpassed its goal of $50,000. As of Monday morning, it had raised more than $76,000.

"I think any parent that has to go to the hospital after an accident knows what they would be experiencing right now. It's a shock. And I think as a parent, you go through those emotions of ... 'Why my child'?" said Kathleen Zary, organizer of the GoFundMe campaign.

"Kyrell is an amazing soul. The family's amazing ... I can't imagine what they're going through right now."

Zary said the success of the GoFundMe campaign is not surprising.

"They're very well-loved family in [Saskatchewan] and in Kamloops as well. And I know if the roles were reversed, the Sopotyk family would do the same for anybody. They're one of those families that you meet and you just are instantly drawn to them because there's just so lovely and caring to everybody."

The cause and type of injury has not been made public at this time.