MONTMARTRE, Sask. – The youngest victim of last week’s Humboldt Broncos bus crash was remembered Friday as a humble farm kid, gifted athlete and natural leader.
Hockey jerseys were draped over Adam Herold’s coffin and some youths at his funeral mass wore jerseys with his name and team number 10 on the back.
Adam would have turned 17 on Thursday.
Hockey gloves, a snowmobiling helmet, a hunting cap and a toy tractor were among the items placed by the altar at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in his hometown of Montmartre, Sask.
Darrin McKechnie, who coached Adam with the Regina Pat Canadians Midget AAA team, said he was the obvious choice for captain even though there were boys older than him on the team.
“He oozed leadership. The boys respected him. He respected everybody around him. He was our leader,” McKechnie said.
McKechnie nicknamed Adam “Harry,” but some of Adam’s teammates called him “Rold.”
McKechnie recounted how his teenage daughter and Adam tried — and failed — to keep their blossoming romance under wraps.
They went to movies, drove around together and were always sending messages to each other on social media.
“Adam was the type of boy you would want your son to be like and your daughter to bring home,” said McKechnie, choking back tears. “I can honestly say from experience that’s the truth.”
Former NHLer Mike Blaisdell became a close friend to Herold’s family after he recruited the boy to play with the South Sask Selects, a spring team for some of the top athletes in southern Saskatchewan.
“One kid you couldn’t help notice was a big, strong defenceman. He could skate and everything about his hockey abilities just caught your eye,” said Blaisdell.
“We knew immediately we have to have this guy.”
Blaisdell said Adam had a formidable appetite.
“Those who have fed him over the years can attest to the fact that when he eats, there are sometimes sparks flying off his plate,” he said.
“But the nice thing about Adam is that he always had a thankful word for you after that meal. He helped clean up. And the added bonus was that there was no leftovers to put away.”
Adam was also never distracted by his phone when he was at the table with adults, he added.
“He was interested and cared about everyone. People mattered to Adam.”
Mike Dumelie, who coached Adam on the Prairie Storm Bantam team for two years, read a statement on behalf of Adam’s parents, Russell and Raelene, and sister Erin.
“He truly was a small-town farm kid at heart, always content with simple things. He loved the outdoors and being active,” they said.
Aside from hockey, his passions included snowmobiling, hunting and water sports at the lake.
The Herolds noted how Robert Munsch was Adam’s favourite author when he was a child and many of his books are still proudly displayed in his room.
Dumelie read one of the family’s favourite passages: “I love you forever, I like you for always. As long as you’re living, my baby you’ll be.”
— By Lauren Krugel in Calgary
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. The original version spelled McKechnie’s
first name as Darren. The correct spelling is Darrin.