This past weekend, a member of the Western Hockey League’s Kamloops Blazers suffered a major, life-altering injury while snowboarding.
19-year-old Blazers forward Kyrell Sopotyk has been paralyzed and is currently in hospital with family and beginning his recovery following a terrifying number of hours.
“Everyone associated with the Western Hockey League is deeply saddened by the devastating news regarding Kamloops Blazers forward Kyrell Sopotyk,” the WHL wrote in a statement on Sunday.
“The WHL and our member Clubs extend our thoughts and prayers to Kyrell, the entire Sopotyk family, Kyrell’s teammates with the Kamloops Blazers, and all his friends during this challenging time.”
Details of the accident involving the Aberdeen, Saskatchewan product have not been disclosed at this time.
“We are devastated at the news,” a statement from the Blazers read. “Kyrell suffered a life-altering injury this weekend. He is a tremendous young man and an exemplary representative of our hockey club. The Blazer family is behind Kyrell and the Sopotyks. At this time, we will respect the privacy of his family.”
Kathleen Zary – mother of Sopotyks’ teammate Connor Zary – started a Go-Fund-Me page in Kyrell’s honour. With an original target of $50K, the page has already received over $100K in donations from nearly 1,000 donors.
“If you know the Sopotyk’s, you know they’re a family that would do anything for others. Now, they need our help to support their son Kyrell,” Zary wrote on the Go-Fund-Me page.
She provided the following update on Sunday evening:
“Thanks for the overwhelming response,” Zary wrote. “It speaks a lot to the amazing family that you’ve all supported so far. We know the Sopotyk’s are grateful for your support. We ask that you keep the entire Sopotyk family in your hearts at this time.”
The donations raised will go towards any potential renovations required at the Sopotyk residence following this major lifestyle change, as well as helping support the current/future medical and health care costs. A link to the Go-Fund-Me page can be found here.
The third-year Blazers forward had 25 goals, 49 points and 81 penalty minutes in his 114-game WHL career with Kamloops.