The Canadian junior hockey Humboldt Broncos’ bus crash in April killed 16 players, coaches, and media members, and made an impression on many around the globe. One of those killed in the crash was broadcaster Tyler Bieber, who many of us who have covered the Canadian Football League knew well for the work he did on that front, and the Football Reporters of Canada media organization has now come up with an annual award to honor Bieber and Brody Hinz, the 18-year-old volunteer statistician and Grade 12 student at Humboldt Collegiate who was also killed in the crash. That award will be presented annually to Humboldt Collegiate’s Best Prepared Athlete, with the first recipient being Dylan Larson.
Long-time FRC secretary-treasurer Darrell Davis wrote about the creation of the award at 3 Down Nation:
While so many people across Saskatchewan, Canada and the world were affected by the tragedy, the FRC realized we had lost two people with close connections to the reporters, announcers, broadcasters, writers and commentators from across Canada who regularly cover the CFL. Because of that, FRC president Mike Hogan and fellow member Ed Tait suggested the group find a way to commemorate and honour their work and memory. It was decided to donate the Tyler Bieber & Brody Hinz Memorial Award to Humboldt Collegiate’s Best Prepared Athlete.
With amazing help from Humboldt Collegiate’s staff and teachers, Dylan Larson, a Grade 12 student, was presented as the inaugural recipient of the award during the school’s athletics awards night on Tuesday. Larson played numerous sports, including basketball and badminton, and served as a mentor for many younger teammates.
Shaun Gardiner, the school’s athletic director and vice-principal, spoke glowingly about Larson and said he was a deserving winner of an award named after two people like Bieber and Hinz. Members of both families were at the presentation, which is tremendously humbling to the FRC.
A devoted sports and football fan, before immersing himself in his play-by-play role, Bieber had developed his own website to discuss all CFL matters. He regularly interacted with fans and numerous FRC members, to the point where our group felt a kinship with him, even though few met him face-to-face.
Hinz dealt with a form of autism that perhaps helped him become such a statistical wizard that he predicted good things for the Vegas Golden Knights, long before the first-year expansion team advanced to the Stanley Cup final. Hinz wanted to work in sports management, which would have put him in direct dealings with the media, but we already knew his vital importance to the Broncos and Bieber.
The ceremony was held this week, and members of both the Hinz and Bieber families were in attendance. The photo at top (sent out by the FRC) has Humboldt Collegiate basketball coach Ron Roach (left) presenting the Tyler Bieber & Brody Hinz Memorial Award to Dylan Larson, accompanied by Brett Bieber (Tylerʼs brother), Marilyn Hay (Tylerʼs mother), Kendall Hinz (Brodyʼs sister), Shaun Gardiner (HC athletic director), and Marilyn Hinz (Brodyʼs mother).
Here’s a closer photo of the new trophy:
A new award will be presented Tues night @the HCI Athl. Awards night.The award is spons. by the Fball Reporters of Canada & entitled:Tyler Bieber & Brody Hinz Memorial Award presented to the “Best Prepared Athlete” at HCI this yr #@DarrellDavisSK #@107.5BoldtFM pic.twitter.com/4Uss1mneEf
— Humboldt ColIegiate (@HCIMOHAWKS) June 5, 2018
Bieber and Hinz were doing great things in sports on the local level, and they’re missed by many. There have been lots of wider sports tributes to the victims of the Humboldt crash, from the Vegas Golden Knights through the Saskatchewan Roughriders and many more, but this is a neat one to add, especially with a media organization reaching out to pay tribute to the media members involved. It’s great to see the FRC find a way to honor the memory of Bieber and Hinz, and to create a new annual tradition for a community that’s dealing with such a massive loss.