Canada's Original Think Tank

Humboldt Tragedy

Humboldt Tragedy

Humboldt Tragedy

Hon. Jim Munson: 

Honourable senators, I want to thank Senator Jaffer for giving me her time. I want to talk about two of the persons who died; Brody Hinz, who was a volunteer statistician for the Humboldt Broncos, and of course Tyler Bieber, the play-by-play announcer.

Brody had Asperger’s. He was a volunteer statistician and worked with Tyler Bieber to put all the stats together. He was on the bus. Brody was a member of the Special Olympics as well. He bowled and played floor hockey. “He was a remarkable young man,” said the minister of the Humboldt Westminster United Church, Brenda Curtis. “He gave us so much.” Brody was a remarkable young man, diagnosed with Asperger’s, a high-functioning form of autism. “He was brilliant,” she said.

She remembered when he was 6 years old, watching a TV newscast and there was a weather report. Shortly after the weather report he put up his own chalkboard and recited every city, province and temperatures, and her jaw almost hit the floor.

Brody was very much part of the church. His father died when he was young. He was full of life, they say. And as a boy in church, according to the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, instead of singing to the hymns, he danced. He loved to dance. He loosened everyone up in the congregation. Later, as a teen, he helped teach Sunday school and the kids adored him.

One thing about him, which is really interesting, at the beginning of the Humboldt Broncos season he was looking at stats. He put all the stats together about the Vegas Golden Knights, and he said, “That team will be a contender in the Stanley Cup.” Well, guess what, the Vegas Golden Knights are 3-0 in the first round. So you know what? I’m going to wear a Humboldt Broncos shirt. I’m going to wear a Las Vegas shirt if they win the Stanley Cup. This would be a wonderful thing.

He worked with Tyler, who was a play-by-play announcer. And I want to say a couple of words because at the end, understanding and having played Junior B Hockey and senior hockey in northern New Brunswick and having been on buses and in those snowstorms, and remembering the Bathurst High School team, and just being out there with your comrades and out there in a snowstorm, you always expect to come home. You always expect to come home.

I not only played hockey, but I also did play-by-play announcing for the Papermakers. I mentioned in the Senate before that we had a little boy, who would have been a Special Olympian, but he died at the age of 1. I was actually doing the play-by-play for the Bathurst Papermakers when my son died, and he was almost a year old.

So when this happened, you can imagine what you feel with the loss of a child. No matter whether your son is one or your son is 18, it still hurts, and I want to acknowledge the team and those who are recovering right now. And my thoughts are with the Hinz family and the Bieber family. They are very special to me.