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On January 16, 2019, suddenly and unexpectedly, my 13 year old son Ryley McNichol lost his life in an automobile accident on his way to hockey practice. Many of his teammates & families, friends and school staff members in the area were traveling the same stretch of highway on that same night. So many witnessed the aftermath of the accident and would arrive at practice that night and at school the next day realizing a noticeable absence.


Thirteen year old Coyotes Development player (and my son) Ryley McNichol suddenly and unexpectedly lost his life in this accident on his way to hockey practice.

As news of Ryley’s tragic death spread quickly throughout the community, an extraordinary event took place where the remaining 16 bantam players on the Canucks House League team took immediate action to offer support to each other and those affected by the loss of one of their own in their respective schools and communities in the days following the tragedy on and off the ice.

With the help of the Canuck’s families, they arranged to come together with their coaches, teammates and families to offer emotional support as well as help with incidental expenses.

The team arranged a gathering within the 48 hours following the tragedy to share their understanding of this impactful event, not only with each other but extending the support to me, Ryley’s mother. It was a healing and heartwarming display of courage, bravery and compassion. As individuals and as a team, in a safe and supported environment, they shared their connections with Ryley in heartfelt stories about his smile, demeanor and presence.

This incredible display of strength, leadership and action among Ryley’s teammates not only provided a safe and comforting environment for the team to solidify their trust and support for one another in crisis, but the team put a plan in action to generously extend their comfort and support to Ryley’s immediate family, also making a pact to continue commemorating Ryley as part of the team.

The immediate response, action and continuing support of the team and the community is an effort that has inspired the need to recognize the importance of trauma and crisis support for youths and their families and to encourage the profound leadership and strength in youth to continue in their efforts to lead and mentor others in their respective communities.

Hockey was of the utmost importance to Ryley and our family. Many can attest to the importance of the game itself if they have been involved in the community and understand the value of youth sports.

For Ryley, and so many other young people who have had the good fortune of being able to play the game, it goes beyond just joy. The effect of playing hockey runs deep as I watched my son find more than just the joy of playing a team sport. Ryley found the joy in connection, confidence and true acceptance both within himself and as part of something bigger…a team of individuals who came together to do something they loved every week, sharing all of this with their loved ones with their commitment and determination and simply showing up.

I believe Ryley’s involvement in youth hockey provided a space for him to learn, grow and engage with a group that helped him find a supportive environment to deal with health and circumstantial challenges, week after week, season after season. Seeing the value of hockey in Ryley’s life made it imperative he continued to play as long as he felt his love for the game, a true gift to him and our family.


When the Humboldt tragedy happened in April of last year, Ryley was greatly impacted. We openly discussed the events leading to this tragic event and sought out ways to get involved in supporting the team and their families. Our attention was directed to the charitable efforts of Sauce Hockey, who created a commemorative t-shirt. Ryley put a hockey stick outside of our front door with a message to the team and purchased a t-shirt with knowledge of the proceeds going to the families of the victims involved. Ryley felt very deeply connected with the team and wore the t-shirt consistently, sometimes days in a row, asking me to wash it more frequently so he could wear it days in a row. Ryley was laid to rest wearing his Humboldt Broncos shirt and had a hockey puck in his hands.

In memory of Ryley, I feel it is necessary to follow the lead of his teammates, coaches, families and community in supporting efforts to encourage youth into action in times of crisis and trauma, to support one another as a team on the ice and be recognized for their efforts in leadership off of the ice.

Impacted by the efforts of Sauce Hockey’s immediate action to help the Humboldt community, we reached out to them to create a commemorative t-shirt that could recognize the leadership, action and impact of the hockey community and raise funds with the proceeds going to fund the season of a house league player who demonstrates exceptional community leadership and financial need as well as creating a fund to assist families impacted by trauma/in crisis, providing assistance with immediate trauma support resources and incidental expenses.

 The outpouring of community support in a time of tragedy is imperative to the long term healing and sustainability of wellbeing of families and community involved in the aftermath of any traumatic event. Please join us in supporting the efforts to encourage others to continue leading acts of kindness and support in times of need.

*The support has been integral to the healing process of my family moving forward after the loss of my son, an invaluable, vital gift and I can’t thank everyone enough. 




- 50% Polyester, 25% Cotton, 25% Rayon
- Minimal shrinkage 
- Machine Wash