NEW GLASGOW — Media members have achieved a goal to establish a bursary in memory of two distant colleagues.
Michael Petter from East Coast FM says he’s gratified by the response after he reached out to those who work in media to launch the bursary to honour play-by-play announcer Tyler Bieber and colour analyst Brody Hinz.
The bursary will tentatively be named the Tyler Bieber and Brody Hinz Memorial Bursary, although Petter is awaiting permission from the family for use of Brody’s name.
They were among those who died in the crash involving a bus carrying members of the Humboldt Broncos this month. The junior hockey team based in Humboldt, Sask. was on its way to a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask. when the bus collided with a tractor trailer at an intersection.
It was the first season for the tandem working together on air, Petter said.
“Tyler was working for the radio station in Humboldt and part of his assignment was broadcasting the games,” Petter said. “Brody was the team statistician and was interning at the radio station.”
Petter does play-by-play for the Pictou County Weeks Crushers of the Maritime Hockey League. His core shoutout was to his colleagues who broadcast games for other MHL teams.
He also has a unique empathy for the Broncos, their fans, family and friends and the Canadian West. He learned that team members who perished are from Prairie communities where he has lived.
He also took the opportunity to replay Bieber and Hinz working a Broncos broadcast.
“I went back to listen to one broadcast, and it was high quality broadcasting,” he said.
“I think we have some of the strongest broadcasters in junior hockey, and I’d put Tyler and Brady right up there with the best, especially considering it was Tyler’s first year doing it.”
Petter has completed 10 years broadcasting for the Crushers, including play-by-play for the last seven seasons. But he has an eerie connection with the Broncos.
“I actually applied for the Broncos position several years ago,” he said. “It was open again, but I didn’t apply and Tyler got it. That would have been me on the bus.”
Petter acknowledged that financial contributions came to mind, but the GoFundMe made it redundant. He also shared the bursary idea.
“I wanted it to be something meaningful,” he said.
Petter credits ECFM colleague Alex Theriault for flushing out ideas about the campaign and Will MacLaren at the MHL office for providing a media list of names to contact.
“Alex did a lot of leg work to find family members to talk to and generate ideas,” he said.
The next call was to the Nova Scotia Community College to align the bursary to its radio and television journalism program with a bent toward aspiring Maritime sports broadcasters. The Ivany campus in Dartmouth orders the program.
“Most said let’s do a bursary in their names, call it the Tyler Bieber and Brody Hinz Memorial Bursary,” he said. “I hope people in Saskatchewan know we are with them and care for them.”
NSCC spokesperson Michelle Hussey said she was pleased to share in the project.
“Like everyone else, your heart goes out to them,” she said, referring to the broadcasters. “It’s a nice way to keep their memories.”
Petter hopes MHL teams, media and the public will contribute to the bursary so that it will be a sizable and lasting tribute to Bieber and Hinz.
Michael Petter sits in a studio at the ECFM 94.1 radio facility where he works in New Glasgow. (Goodwin photo)