‘He was a gift:’ Broncos stats keeper remembered for math, memory, kindness

Brody Hinz was one of 16 people who have died as a result of the junior hockey team’s bus colliding with a semi truck last week

Brody Hinz went to church every Sunday.

The 18-year-old competed in bowling and floor hockey with the Special Olympics.

And, with a knack for math and an exceptional memory, he compiled statistics for his beloved Humboldt Broncos.

Hinz was one of 16 people who have died as a result of the junior hockey team’s bus colliding with a semi truck last week on the way to a playoff game in northeastern Saskatchewan.

“He gave us so much,” Rev. Brenda Curtis with the Humboldt Westminster United Church told The Canadian Press.

“He was a remarkable young man.”

Related: British Columbians show their support for Humboldt with ‘Jersey Day’

Hinz was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. And he was brilliant, Curtis said.

She remembers that as a six-year-old Hinz was able to read and once, after watching a weather report on the TV news, replicated on a chalk board a map of Canada with cities and temperatures. Her jaw hit the floor.

Later, on drives to summer Bible camp, she’d quiz him on his encyclopedic memory of sports.

“I’d say, ‘So Brody, tell me who won the Super Bowl in 1952.’ He’d tell me. I’d say, ‘And who was quarterbacking?’ And he’d tell me. I’d say, ‘Who was the MVP?’ And he’d tell me … You literally couldn’t stump him.”

His father died when he was young and the church, friends and other organizations in the community such as Big Brothers helped support him and his family, Curtis said.

And in return, Hinz taught them about being kind and making a difference, Curtis said.

Hinz was full of life and, as a boy in church, instead of singing to hymns — he danced. He loosened everyone up in the congregation, she said.

Related: The first of 16. Funeral for play-by-play announcer of Humboldt Broncos

Later as a teen, he helped teach Sunday school and the kids adored him, Curtis said. So did the men at church, who huddled with him in the lobby near the coffee pot each Sunday morning to talk sports.

Not only could he remember everything and do math calculations in his head, he was able to make accurate predictions, said his Humboldt high school principal, Cory Popoff.

“Before training camp started for the NHL … he said the Las Vegas (Golden) Knights will not only be in the playoffs in their first year, they will be contenders for the Stanley Cup. And now look what happened.”

Hinz played two seasons with the high school football team, said Popoff, and was chosen because he gave 100 per cent each minute he was on the field. After hurting his knee this past year, he helped out as equipment manager.

Hinz was treated like every other kid in school, Popoff added, and everyone there is going to miss him.

“He was a gift,” said Popoff.

Hinz was to graduate in June and was super proud of the accomplishment, said family friend Kathy Klatt.

He was even more excited when he got the chance this season to join the Broncos as their stats keeper, she said.

“He was on Cloud 9 to be able to do that.”

It was a volunteer position with the local radio station that saw Hinz travel with the team he had been watching since he was young.

He worked alongside the station’s play-by-play announcer, Tyler Bieber, who was also on the bus and died in the crash.

Faye Matt, head of Special Olympics Saskatchewan, said Hinz stood out among the many athletes she has met over the years.

He competed with the organization through his teen years, she said, and he gave grace at the organization’s award banquet in 2015.

He was candid, warm and funny.

“Losing athletes like Brody is definitely difficult and it makes the work we do at Special Olympics that much more poignant,” said Matt.

“We’re so proud to know he was working with the Broncos.”

A funeral is to held for Hinz in Humboldt on Saturday.

Related: Blood donations spike after Humboldt Broncos bus crash

— By Chris Purdy in Edmonton

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

21 new paramedics promised to Kamloops, Chase

A total of 18 new full-time paramedics will be hired for Kamloops and three are being hired for Chase.

Village of Ashcroft on Stage 4 water restrictions

Two river pumps have malfunctioned, meaning limited water to the reservoirs.

B.C. parents leery of HPV cervical cancer vaccine

Provincial registration uptake among lowest in Canada

Municipal spending outpaces population growth 4-fold in B.C.: report

Canadian Federation of Independent Business has released its annual operational spending report

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

Most Read