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Team mourns loss of hockey player

The crash happened on the Highway 17 Southwest bypass between Southview Drive and Fielding Road at about 11:30 p.m.
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Dean Hancock, 18, was killed in a car crash Thursday, Aug. 21. He played for the Nickel Capital Wolves midget hockey team for two years. Supplied photo.
The crash happened on the Highway 17 Southwest bypass between Southview Drive and Fielding Road at about 11:30 p.m.

A preliminary OPP investigation revealed a westbound pickup truck collided head on with two eastbound vehicles, a car and a pick-up truck.

Hancock, who was driving the car, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The male driver of the westbound truck suffered non-life threatening injuries.

The 39-year-old driver of the westbound pickup truck was released from hospital after being treated for minor injuries. He was charged with breach of conditions from an unrelated incident.

“There's a sense of rage right now,” said Albert Corradini, general manager of the Nickel Capital Wolves. “A lot of people are extremely upset.”

During a team practice Friday, many of the veteran players who knew Hancock best, did not show up.

The team brought in grief counsellors that evening, and Corradini said more than 100 people came to grieve in their own way.

Some were Hancock's former teammates, others were classmates, and many were adults who knew him in different capacities.

“He was just a good kid,” Corradini said. “He was a very good young man.”

Hancock, described as a versatile hockey player, played as a defenceman and forward for the team, depending on where he was needed.

“He skated like the wind and had a blistering shot,” Corradini said.

He graduated from the team last spring, and hoped to continue his hockey career at the Junior “A” level.

Bob MacLean, commissioner of the Great North Midget Hockey League, which includes the Nickel Capital Wolves, said Hancock's death has had a deep impact on the entire league.

MacLean did not know Hancock personally, but said it was difficult to see posts and pictures about him on Facebook after his death.

“I can't even bring myself to look at those anymore,” he said.
Corradini said the Nickel Capital Wolves hope to host a tribute in memory of Hancock during a game later in the season.

He said early plans are to pay tribute during a game against their hometown rivals the Nickel City Sons.

“A lot of the kids he (Hancock) played with are over at the Sons as well,” Corradini said.

In 2012 the team faced a similar tragedy when player Liam Kirkwood, 18, died after a two-year battle with acute myeloid leukemia.

Jonathan Migneault

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