‘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

Stettler’s Scotties tournament set a new standard

Chair of curling tournament committee says rural Alberta can host biggest events

Come out to a family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day dance in Botha

Don’t miss the big green bash in Botha Feb. 24

Tickets still available for Stettler County Community Service Awards

42nd annual community service awards at Linda Hall Feb. 21

Blaze clothing probably exaggerated in bike usefulness

Black is probably more noticeable than hi-viz

‘Riya was a dreamer’: Mother of slain 11-year-old Ontario girl heartbroken

Her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, 41, was arrested some 130 kilometres away

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

Hee-Won Son takes home gold in 500m Female Short Track Speed Skating

Team Alberta sits in second place overall at the Canada Winter Games

Shots fired in Maskwacis home invasion

Maskwacis RCMP are searching for three suspects in a home invasion (with photos)

CRTC report finds ‘misleading, aggressive’ sales tactics used by telecom industry

Report recommends measures to make a fairer situation for consumers

Crude-by-rail shipments set new record in December despite lower price discounts

Canada exported nearly 354,000 barrels per day of oil, up seven per cent from November

Do you live with your partner? More and more Canadians don’t

Statistics Canada shows fewer couples live together than did a decade ago

Most Read