The family and coaches of a young hockey player who died after he was hit in the neck with a puck are grieving his loss.
Kyle Fundytus was injured while blocking a shot during a midget AA game in Edmonton on Saturday and died of his injuries in hospital.
In a brief written statement, his family calls the death of the 16-year-old a tragedy and says he was passionate about hockey.
Coach Nathan Papirny of the Don Wheaton team says Fundytus was a natural leader who was well liked by his teammates and was good at killing penalties.
Papirny says blocking shots is part of hockey and no amount of equipment can protect players all the time.
Grief counsellors are working with both teams as well as students and staff at Holy Trinity High School.
The South Side Athletic Club announced the tragic news in a statement posted on their website Sunday night.
The team's statement says Fundytus had been with the club for four years, and that it was his second year in the Northern Alberta Midget Hockey League.
“Kyle was a model player and a dedicated teammate. His passion and enthusiasm for the game and life exemplifies traits of not just a great hockey player, but also a great person,” the statement said.
“Kyle's sudden passing has shocked family, friends, and the hockey community. Kyle will be deeply missed by all.”
The statement called Fundytus “one of the leaders” of the team.
Hockey Alberta has been notified of the incident.
The team says there are plans to establish a Kyle Fundytus Memorial Scholarship.