On what would have been Ronin Sharma’s 17th birthday, the aspiring professional hockey player was commemorated by his family and teammates in a ceremony that saw his jersey number withdrawn.
“Ronin will be a Rivermen for life,” said Mike Thompson, assistant coach of the Langley Rivermen.
Along with family and friends, the team paid tribute to Sharma at the George Preston Arena in Langley, BC, ahead of their home opener on Friday.
Sharma was killed alongside her fellow junior hockey players Parker Magnuson and Caleb Reimer when the car they were traveling in crashed into a tree in the Fraser Heights neighborhood of Surrey on August 21.
Sharma’s jersey, number 25, was hoisted to the ceiling following a touching video tribute.
âRonin was like a son to me. And it’s a very big honor to take your jersey off. So I think the family are really proud of Ronin for that,â said Tarsem Nath, Sharma’s uncle.
“As sad as it is to lose him, there is some peace with us having this night for him.”
Nath said it was a tough day for the family, but the support from the team helped.
âRonin touched a lot of people,â Nath said. “And when you come here and look around, it shows.”
“He was going to become a professional hockey player”
Players wore Sharma’s name on their jerseys for Friday’s game and will wear Sharma’s initials, RS, on their helmets for the remainder of the season.
âAs a hockey player he was great. And as a member of the team he’s even bigger, âsaid Thompson.
âI can’t count how many guys came up to me and told me he came by my side when I wasn’t feeling well and took care of me. It was Sharms, it was right a great boy. “
Thompson said Sharma had the “computer factor” that could have taken him to the pro league.
âHe was going to be a professional hockey player,â he said. “He could score. He worked hard. He tried to be the best at everything he could, every day.”
Tonight our owner John Henderson presented the Sharma family with the latest jersey worn by Ronin.
For Sharma’s family, the loss of a family member is always a painful injury, but Nath said he knew his nephew would like them to celebrate his life.
âI’m just going to try and think of all the good times,â Nath said, biting back tears.
“[We’re going to] do what Ronin wanted us to doâ¦ just celebrate it and be happy for him, which he accomplished at such a young age. “