‘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

Ladysmith Interact club students inspired and inspiring

Ladysmith Secondary School group making a difference in their community

IIO doesn’t recommend charges after motorcyclist death in Mill Bay

An off-duty VicPD officer was involved in the crash

New wind warning for most of Vancouver Island

Forecasters are calling for strong winds up to 90km/h for some areas

Mount Washington opening for winter season this weekend

The resort’s original opening day was delayed due to lack of snow

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

VIDEO: Royals reveal the images on their Christmas cards

Prince William and his wife Kate are shown outside in casual clothes, their three young children in tow

Media, robotics, Indigenous studies coming to B.C. Grade 12 classrooms in 2019-20

Provincial tests are also being changed for students in Grade 10 to 12, the Education Ministry said

ICBC to apply for 6.3% hike to basic insurance rates

Crown Corporation said it will be submitting its next basic rate application to the British Columbia Utilities Commission Friday

Stranded B.C. trucker writes final wishes before being rescued 3 days later

‘I was just praying someone would come along’

Canfor Corp. extending temporary curtailment of sawmills in B.C.; cutting hours

Vancouver-based company says the decision is due to declining lumber prices, high log costs and log supply constraints

Canada’s prospective world junior team members await final roster decisions

Thirty-four players were invited to the national junior selection camp

Woman guilty of impaired driving in death of Vancouver Island pedestrian

Man in his 70s killed in 2016 Courtenay multi-vehicle incident

Rash of bomb threats a learning opportunity for response capacity, Goodale

Thursday’s wave of bomb threats swept across communities on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border

Windstorm topples tree onto townhouse in Nanaimo

Heavy winds have thousands of B.C. Hydro customers without power

Most Read