Hockey world mourns tragic death of young team captain

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The hockey community is mourning the tragic loss of Craig Spence, the 22-year-old team captain of the Provincial Junior Hockey League's Blenheim Blades. He was killed in a car collision on Highway 401 in London, Ontario, involving a pickup truck and a transport truck, which resulted in the ejection of the pickup truck driver from the vehicle.

“Craig was a leader on and off the ice,” the Blades said in a statement. “His play was outstanding and earned him Stobbs Division player of month for November . . . (and) defenceman of the year this past season."

“But to the Blades family, he was Spence, easy with a smile, always willing to step up if help was needed. He was a dedicated teammate, brother and a friend to all of us in the Blades family.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Craig’s family, and all those who knew and loved him.”

“He was a well-spoken player that led by example,” Blades general manager Bob Price said. “He was well respected in the dressing room, well respected by the coaches, well respected by everyone that I knew. He will be sadly missed.”

“Everyone is devastated,” he continued. “There’s nothing but sorrow.”

After having played four seasons for the Chatham Maroons and was a draft pick of the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, he was named the captain of the Blades and enjoyed a stellar season, posting 74 points in 36 games played and also earning Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Stobbs Division defenceman of the year honors. 

“Craig was an amazing person and teammate,” former Maroons head coach and GM Tyler Roeszler said. “He would light up every room he was in. He had such a contagious personality and was so personable. He always made time and cared for the people around him. “Craig understood what’s truly important in life – relationships and enjoying the journey. He was never in a rush and always took the time to connect with everyone.”

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