Blake McConville was on the ice for hockey practice Sunday when he received the "heartbreaking" news that his friend and teammate had died.
Nick Dyer had been fighting for his life for weeks in a Detroit hospital after he and several friends were involved in a collision in Amherstburg.
McConville didn't know how to handle the news as he left the ice and took time to himself.
"Losing your best friend is pretty hard," he said. "You don't think about it, and when it actually happens, it's heartbreaking."
Since news of Dyer's death spread Sunday, social media tributes have been flowing under the hashtag #lovefornick.
Dyer wore No. 77 for the LaSalle Sabres. In a tribute to their beloved player, the LaSalle Minor Hockey Association posted a photo of him smiling in his hockey gear.
"Sadly, we share the heartbreaking news that Nick passed away yesterday," said the LMHA in its Facebook post. "This tragic loss is felt by our entire association, the community, Nick's teammates and his friends."
LMHA spokesperson Tracy Klingbyle said her son played hockey with Nick.
"Everybody is emotional, it was unexpected and they're just doing their best," she said. "He loved sports … and he loved being a Sabre."
Nick suffered serious injuries in a crash on Concession 4 Road North shortly after 3 p.m. on Feb. 13. The driver lost control of a 2014 Chevrolet Impala, which flipped and landed in a farmer's field, according to Amherstburg police.
All four occupants of the vehicle were transported to hospital. Three occupants suffered minor injuries but Nick was was transported to Detroit because his injuries were much more severe. All the boys are classmates at Sandwich Secondary School.
Dyer's coaches and teammates held a vigil Sunday night at their high school.
Members of the football team at Sandwich Secondary say the number Nick wore for both hockey and football will be retired.
"No one at Sandwich is going to wear the number 77 again ," said Deion Ash, a football teammate and friend. "I know a lot of us personally are just going to write ND77 on our equipment so that everybody knows we represent him like he represented us."