By Brad Brown
There was truly very little that Montmartre’s Adam Herold didn’t accomplish in his short hockey career.
Captain of the Weyburn Youngfellow Wings peewee AA team in 2013-14.
The only first-year bantam to crack the Balgonie Prairie Storm’s AA team in 2014-15.
Top defenceman at the Kamloops International Bantam Ice Hockey Tournament in 2016.
Drafted in the second round by the Western Hockey League’s Prince Albert Raiders later that year.
Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League and western regional champion with the Regina Pat Canadians in 2016-17.
Captain, Mac’s Tournament champion and first-team league all-star with the Pat C’s in 2017-18.
But it was the Chuck Herriot Scholarship that Herold received at the end of this past SMAAAHL season that Regina head coach Darrin McKechnie said truly defined what Herold was all about. That award is voted on by the league’s coaches and team governors, and presented annually to a player who exemplifies sportsmanship, commitment, leadership and dedication to the game both on and off the ice.
Herold, who would have turned 17 today, was among 15 individuals killed Friday afternoon when the Humboldt Broncos’ team bus collided with a semi en route to Nipawin for Game 5 of their Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League semifinal series against the Hawks.
“Adam just was a great example of what young hockey players should aspire to be,” McKechnie told The Forum through tears on Saturday afternoon. “He would be the type of person that you want your sons to turn out like and that you would want your daughters to bring home.”
And — according to another of his former coaches — the type of person, as a result of those qualities, who was going to succeed in whatever he decided to pursue.“I was talking to an NHL scout on Tuesday night at the P.A.-Moose Jaw game,” said Mike Dumelie, a Prince Albert Raiders scout who also coached Herold for his two years with the Prairie Storm. “
And talking to him about Adam I just mentioned … how even though he’s only 16 years old, this kid has the capacity to be an NHL captain. He’s that kind of kid.”
Dumelie spoke to The Forum after spending most of Saturday in Moose Jaw counselling and comforting several of his former players who were looking to take the next step toward the midget AAA ranks with an impressive showing at the Moose Jaw Generals’ spring camp.
“They’re dealing with the fact that they can’t forget what’s gone on, and at the same time they have to try and make this hockey team,” said Dumelie. “And the point I made was ‘What do you think Adam would want you to do?’ A lot of kids at that age aren’t mature enough to get that someone else succeeding doesn’t mean that you’re a failure, but Adam understood that from the first time I met him and I tried to convey that as well.”
Montmartre mayor Rob Chittenden learned of the Broncos’ crash while attending the Broomball Canada juvenile national championships in Owen Sound, Ont. with his daughter Jayd — a member of the Odessa Flames. Chittenden noted that, as his wife Neysa and Herold’s mom Raelene are first cousins, their respective families had spent “lots” of time together over the years — in particular on snowmobile rides during the winter months.
“We know the family really well and Adam was just a super nice kid. It’s unbelievable,” he said. “Lots of 16-year-olds, they can be cocky and whatnot. Adam was not like that at all. He was a super kid, with the best attitude I’ve ever seen. You can talk to all of his previous coaches from minor hockey on, including Darren Sebastian who coached him all through minor hockey in Montmartre, and they’ll all tell you he was just a good kid and very coachable. I’ve talked to some family members back home already and everybody’s just devastated.”
A choked-up Dumelie concurred.
“Adam was going to be extremely successful in everything he did, not because of his hockey skill but just because of the way he was raised, and the way he carried himself and cared so much for others,” he said. “I care greatly for all of the kids that I coach but there are always a few that are a little, extra special I guess, and Adam was definitely one of them. I’m going to miss him immensely.”