Hockey players from Quesnel, Smithers and Williams Lake paused Friday to honour Quesnel Thunder’s Lane Wiggins who was killed in a vehicle incident last weekend.
After their 4-4 tied game, Quesnel Thunder and Smithers Storm players remained on the ice for a short ceremony, joined by the Williams Lake Timberwolves, who wore orange jerseys.
“It is with heavy hearts we are gathered here tonight,” said Williams Lake First Nations Chief Willie Sellars as he welcomed the players.. “It really signifies how small a hockey community is in our country and how important hockey is to health and wellness.”
Sellars said it was an honour to be there and welcome all the players.
“It is also an honour to be here on a night as significant as this when we are grieving, and we are in need of healing and coming together as one.”
Williams Lake Minor Hockey president Mike Rispin said he had the experience of coaching Lane’s older brother Kyle on one of his teams and working with Lane’s mother Shelley Wiggins.
Reading from a prepared statement, he described Lane as a cherished member of the Quesnel Thunder hockey family.
“He started his career in Williams Lake and also did a short stint with 100 Mile minor hockey. Lane’s passion for hockey was only matched by his love for the great outdoors,” Rispin said, noting his zest for life was contagious - he loved mountain biking, fishing and hunting with his dad.
Rispin said he had wondered if Quesnel Thunder might not attend the tournament taking place in Williams Lake this weekend due to the loss of Lane, but said his brother Kyle told him Lane would not want that.
“He would want the team to come here, play with passion and grit and take the gold home. I believe Lane will be in the building pushing the team to do that. His spirit will be here, he loved the rink.”
On behalf of the Wiggins family, Rispin said they were extremely grateful for everyone’s support.
Because Lane played hockey in Quesnel, 100 Mile and Williams Lake, people from all over have reached out to the family and shared photographs and stories.
“We remember Lane not only for his prowess at the hockey rink, but for his joy and passion that he brought to every aspect of his life.”
Rispin asked for a moment of silence, followed by a moment of noise to raise the roof.
He said he talked with Lane’s father Jason Wiggins and decided raising the roof would be something Lane would have done.
“Lane was never known for the way he was silent and he wouldn’t want us to be silent tonight.”
In response, there was a moment of silence and then the banging of hockey sticks, clapping, horn blowing, First Nations drumming, cheering and whistling - then more drumming and singing by members of Esk’etemc First Nation.
Lane’s father Jason, wearing a Quesnel Thunder Jersey, stood beside Chief Sellars.
After the ceremony Jason hugged the drummers and then all of the Quesnel team and coaches.
On Saturday, when the Quesnel Thunder play Williams Lake at 9:45 a.m. the community is encouraged to come out and show its support for the family and the team.
During the game Friday evening, Lane’s jersey was displayed behind the bench and his teammates had badges sewn onto their jerseys with his No. 9 and the nickname Wiggs displayed.
READ MORE: Two Quesnel youths die in crash
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