BAY ROBERTS, NL — A regular council meeting in Bay Roberts began a little differently than most meetings held in the chambers.
Each member of council wore a colourful hockey jersey Tuesday night, and near the front of the room, where Mayor Phillip Wood sat, were photos of Parker Tobin, an 18-year-old goalie for the Humboldt Broncos, and one of 15 players who were killed in a tragic accident in Saskatchewan on Friday, April 6th, involving the team’s bus and a tractor trailer.
Parker’s father, Eddie, was a Bay Roberts native who moved out of the province a couple decades ago to pursue a career in teaching.
Soon after council accepted the agenda, Deputy Mayor Walter Yetman made a motion to donate $500 to the family, which was carried unanimously.
Eddie’s brother and Parker’s uncle, Glenn Tobin, was present at Tuesday night’s meeting to speak to council on behalf of the family.
“We all really appreciate the donation you’re making to my brother and family. We had to drop by after we heard about it, even though we’ve been trying to keep to ourselves a bit. It’s really going to go a long way,” Glenn said to council. “Because my brother grew up here, and a lot of people who knew him, know how passionate he was about sports.”
He also explained that hockey had been a part of the Tobin family for as long as he can remember – both he and Eddie were avid players, and both men have passed the love for the sport down to their children.
“Hockey’s a part of life – even the people that don’t play it, enjoy watching it. People who grow up together, and play together, become a family. That gets passed on to the kids and so on, and that’s exactly the way it happened for us, Eddie especially,” Glenn said. “Both his boys got into the game, and loved it just as much as he did.”
Eddie’s personal love for hockey is something Glenn remembered fondly about their childhood, noting that the passion for the sport was evidently passed through to Parker as well, as the young goaltender carried the same drive to succeed every time his skates touched the ice.
Parker really had his father’s determination, and he knew he was close to getting into the NHL,” he said. “I know everybody who has kids in hockey, they all think they’re going to the NHL, but Parker really had that potential – the kid had what it took.”
While Eddie’s passion for hockey was evident to most, Glenn said his brother also has a passion for Bay Roberts, his home town. Because of this, Glenn passed along his thanks not only from himself, but from the rest of the family, to Bay Roberts council members, not only for the monetary donation, but also the continuing support Eddie’s home has shown in the past few days.
“I know Eddie’s heart and soul will always be right here in Bay Roberts, no matter where he is, so we’ll always be grateful for the support the family’s received.”
Wood went on to return Glenn’s thanks, adding that the community’s flags will be set at half-mast for 15-days as a show of respect for the 15 victims of Friday’s fatal accident. This is a gesture that several communities in the area will also be carrying out.
Alongside this, the town will be setting up a book of condolences to later be passed along to the Tobin family. The book will be set up at the town office, and will also be brought along to Saturday night’s charity game for the Tobin family at the Bay Arena.
“Humboldt and Bay Roberts both have a population of around 6,000 people, so you can imagine that, if something like this were to happen here, what kind of impact it would have on the entire community,” said Wood. “We’d just like to pass along out most sincere condolences to Eddie, to Glenn, and to the entire Tobin family.”
Before the remainder of Tuesday night’s meeting got underway, council members and meeting attendees held a moment of silence to honour all involved in the accident.