Brody Hinz's eulogy was presented at his funeral by Cory Popoff and is a part of the Humboldt Broncos memorial page with permission from his family.
It’s the spring of 2014 and I am sitting at home with my wife, Dar, and she is giving me a scouting report from the Humboldt Public School for our Mohawk Football Program.
You see, Dar is a teacher and a vice-principal at Humboldt Public School, and is closely connected with her students. She has this uncanny ability to remember the smallest details about every student in her school.
Dar is giving me the scouting list and describing every potential player with a great level of detail. Often these scouting reports turn into very long, one-sided conversations.
I have to admit, I may have drifted off a few times during our scouting reports.
This particular spring, Dar ended her list with Brody Hinz. The reason why I remember this is… that I was watching the Rider game on TV, and maybe not paying attention to what she was saying. She physically stepped in between me and our television to grab my attention. She looked me in the eyes and said, “Brody isn’t the most athletic person, but he will give you 100% all of the time. Brody was a gift to us, and he will be a gift to you.”
Brody Joseph Daniel Hinz was born on December 10, 1999 in Saskatoon. Brody’s father Dale and mother Darlene fell in love with him immediately.
Darlene affectionately described Brody during his pre-school years as a very curious, shy, and lovable boy.
Brody’s curiosity focused around hockey to begin with, and he was given a book called Total Hockey: The Official Encyclopedia of the NHL.
Brody’s mom showed me the book yesterday. The book weighs about 5 pounds, and contains almost 2000 pages of fine print describing the entire history of the NHL, its teams, and its players. Brody memorized this entire book and could recite any statistic for any player from any year on any team.
Darlene said that he simply amazed his family. They knew he had a gift.
In Grade 3 he built a Stanley Cup with Irene Shadbolt out of margarine containers wrapped in aluminum foil. On a piece of paper, he started writing every team and every player who won the Stanley Cup and
wrapped the paper around the cup. Out of curiosity, Irene fact-checked all of the teams and names.
Brody was 100 % correct.
My wife Dar tells me that when Brody was younger, he often accompanied her for supervision on the playground with a plastic bag with some rocks in it. He was in fact refereeing the playground. If there was trouble on the playground he would throw his ‘flag’, and the supervisor (Dar, the head ref) would come running to make the call. The call was often roughing, holding, or objectionable conduct. For
objectionable conducts, students had to sit on the bench for 5 minutes.
His love for sports didn’t stop with hockey. His mom said that he eventually got his hands on a Saskatchewan Roughriders book and memorized the information. He loved the Riders, and loved
attending their games when he could.
As a young boy, he was also very interested in the weather. Brody’s mom said that she once complained to Brody about the weather, and how cold it was. Brody simply said, “That’s just Saskatchewan Mom,
you are going to have to get over it.”
Darlene shared one of her favorite memories of Brody and his father Dale. Brody, Kendall, and Dale loved to pick bottles in the ditch just west of Humboldt, and would pick bottles as far as the Meachem
junction. After recycling the bottles, they loved to go to the Pioneer Hotel after to have coffee and a pop. Dale truly loved Brody with all of his heart.
Brody attended his first of many Bronco hockey games at 7 years of age, and would often go with Darlene and Dale, while Kendall was at home with the babysitter. Brody’s cousin Brian Fetter remembers how excited Brody was at these hockey games, and how he would dance to all of the music, and high-five the players at the end of every period.
Another special memory to the family is that Brody, as a young boy, was scared of his Aunt Sharon’s dog, Rocky. Brody would run screaming from this dog whenever near it. Just to put this in perspective, Rocky was a tiny Boston Terrier, and Brody was much larger than this dog.
Uncle Garry & Auntie Alanna Miller helped Brody make the trip to Ottawa, to visit our parliament buildings. The night before Brody flew to Ottawa, Garry and Alanna spent the evening preparing Brody for his trip. Alanna offered Brody a drink, and started listing all of the pop in the fridge. Garry asked Alanna if she could grab him a beer and offered Brody one. Brody quickly accepted the offer. Alanna jokingly asked Brody, “What am I, your barmaid?” They laughed for quite some time after that, as Brody had a beer with his uncle.
Brody’s cousin Dakota’s favorite memory of Brody was when Brody and his sister Kendall visited them in Calgary, and jumped on their trampoline. They were completely out of control and double-bounced each other into the safety netting, laughing and giggling. At times they bounced each other higher than the netting, according to Dakota. Dakota remembered that she was NOT giggling, and was very worried about their safety, and whether or not her trampoline was going to break.
I had the opportunity to speak to Kendall, Brody’s sister. She is 13 years old, Grade 7, and Mrs. O is her favorite teacher. Kendall wanted me to know that she is very independent, and that she didn’t need Brody’s help to get things done. However, she did mention that she loved it when Brody cooked, especially when he made buns.
Brody’s father Dale lost his battle with cancer when Brody was young. Darlene said that after she shared the news of his father’s passing, Brody grew up fast and took on more responsibilities around the house. Brody was a very strong support for his mom after his dad’s passing. She said that Brody was the main reason why she went back to school to get her grade 12.
Darlene wants to share with you that Brody was so very thoughtful and kind. He always put Kendall and Darlene’s needs before his own. Brody was a gift to his family.
Brody never had a bad thing to say about anyone, except for the refs in Nipawin when he came back from a recent Humboldt Bronco playoff game. Darlene said that Brody used some very colorful language that evening.
In Grade 8, Brody came to Dave Hill, his principal, with a very important letter. The letter said, “Please consider shutting down the school tomorrow. Tomorrow is the NHL trade deadline. How can you not shut the school down when nobody is going to be able to concentrate in class for any period of time?
Dave’s reply was “I don’t think so, Brody.”
While attending HPS, Brody was the sports rep for the student leadership group. He would read the sports news for announcements. He was so very positive in his announcements, win or lose. And he always did the scorekeeping for home games. He would always put his passion and flare into his announcements, saying that the next game was Thursday Thursday Thursday in the Pantherdome!
Brody was a gift to Humboldt Public School.
Brody’s time at Humboldt Collegiate Institute demonstrated to us his incredible abilities with people and with sport.
As in the Public School, Brody continued his assistance with supervision duties at HCI. He was often found at the front of the commons, visiting with the supervising teachers. Us teachers always knew that
Brody was our second set of eyes during supervision.
A group of students remembers a time when Brody volunteered to demonstrate the concept of marginal satisfaction in personal finance class. This activity had Brody eating as many bananas as he could, stating his satisfaction after every banana he ate. Brody ate 10 bananas in one hour. Although Brody said he was dissatisfied after 4 bananas, he continued to push through for the sake of the activity. After the 6th banana he was extremely dissatisfied. After the 7th banana, he had no comment other than “this sucks.” He continued to question himself with every additional banana after, until he hit his goal of 10.
The students said that this activity was another example of Brody’s sheer determination and great sense of humor.
Our students all say that Brody loved to talk. They say that he could talk forever, about absolutel anything and everything. He was always happy, and he listened so well to every conversation that he
had with students.
“He always found a way to cheer us up, even on our worst days” said one student. He had the greatest sense of humor.
David Millette told me that Brody, before the NHL training camps started, predicted that the Las Vegas Golden Knights, in their inaugural year, would not only make the playoffs, but were going to win the cup. He made this prediction from studying all of the players that were drafted on this team. The Las Vegas Golden Knights are currently in the first round of playoffs in their first year. They are up 2 games-0 over the LA Kings.
One year, in our annual students versus staff hockey game before Christmas, Brody was the bench boss, dressed up in his suit, and intensely into the game. He paced behind the bench vigorously, acting like a
very passionate hockey coach. Our students loved that.
Brody was a gift to HCI.
Mohawk Football played an important part in Brody’s life, and he was an incredible asset to our team.
Tom Schwinghamer, Shaun Gardiner, David Rowe, Brian Hinz, Josh Kovach, Andrew Abbs, AJ Rettger, Evan Nyhus, and Mike Suchan have some great memories about Brody and his involvement with Mohawk Football. Brody played football in Grade 9, 10, and 11. In Grade 12, a knee injury prevented him from playing football, so Brody became our equipment manager. Brody had a strong connection with our receiver coach Tyler Bieber. Tyler was such a positive mentor for Brody. When Brody started Mohawk Football, we really didn’t know him that well. We had Mr. Zaluski handling all of our equipment, but he must not have noticed that Brody grabbed the wrong size of pants
and belt. During conditioning in practice, we had our players do the bear crawl.
Anyone in this room who knows this drill also knows that we saw a little too much of Brody that day.
We then assigned our veteran players to help Brody sort out his equipment issues for the next practice.
Our coaches were always impressed with the way Brody gave 100 % all of the time, and he always finished the drill.
After our football team clinched a playoff spot last season, most of our coaching staff had to leave early from practice, and Mike Suchan and Tyler Bieber closed out practice. While Mike and Tyler re-iterated the importance of the playoffs with the players, Brody stepped up and said to our team, “I wish I could play right now but I can’t. I would do anything to be where you guys are right now.” This message from Brody had a profound effect on our team, and we feel was a big part in motivating our team to reach the provincial semi-finals last season. Brody was a gift to Mohawk Football.
Our school community wrapped its arms around Brody, including him in many activities because of his love of sport. Shaun and Karla Gardiner fondly remember their trip with Brody to PA to watch the Raiders game, Adam Eichorst and Brody travelled to Tisdale to watch Provincial Curling, and Tom Schwinghamer, recognizing Brody’s gift, connected him with the Broncos and Bolt FM. The HCI staff worked closely with Brody to prepare him for life out of high school and helped to equip him for his recent posting with the Broncos.
Paul Raycroft and tells me that Brody had a solid plan of what he wanted to do past high school.
Eventually he wanted to attend the U of R for a sports management degree, but he needed to spend a year upgrading his math to get there. As a result, Brody committed to work another year with our Humboldt Broncos and with Mohawk Football. He wanted to continue with his involvement with BOLT FM, under the leadership of Brian Kusch, and continue working for a stats company on-line to keep track of hockey teams across North America.
Recently Karla Gardiner and Jamie White worked with Brody to look at what Brody needed to continue down the road to success past high school. He expressed the strong desire to stay in the community of Humboldt when he jokingly said, “You know that I am a pretty big deal around here!” Brody had a great sense of humour.
Big Brothers-Big Sisters played an important role in Brody’s life. After the passing of his father, Big Brothers-Big Sisters supported Brody through his childhood and into his early adulthood. Recently, Brody had the opportunity to go to Ottawa to job-shadow in Parliament through Big Brothers-Big Sisters. Brody enjoyed this trip and learned a lot. A classic Brody story is ‘the Obama cookie’ that he bought, but then he got hungry on the plane and ate it before he got home.
Through Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Brody was able to attend a few Saskatchewan Roughriders games.
Both of his caseworkers, Morgan Forster and Amy Hogemann, have similar stories about Brody. They travelled to Regina for the game, but because of the late kick-off, they had to leave before the end of the game.
Both ladies remember that on one occasion, Brody was so upset with them because he wanted to stay to the end of the game. In fact, Amy feels that Brody blamed her for the Riders loss because he was not there to cheer them on. However, it wasn’t soon after that he was back to laughing and joking around.
Brody didn’t hold grudges for very long. Amy remembers Brody as a caring, loving person, who was always willing to give back.
His Big Brother for the last three years was Blaine Weyland. Blaine said that they watched sports together, talked sports together, and that everything was about sports. In fact, the reason that Amy Hogemann paired Blaine up with Brody was because of their shared love of sports and that she knew that Blaine may be the only person who could match Brody’s knowledge of sports.
They attended the very first Rush game together, a Blades game, and watched numerous other sporting events. Brody enjoyed watching Ron McLean and Don Cherry on Coaches Corner and Blaine knows, as we all do, that Brody would have been fascinated by the love and outpouring of support.. for the Humboldt Broncos from the various sports teams around the world, as well as from Coaches’ Corner.
Blaine said that Brody had a warm heart and was inspired to give back. He recognized that Brody’s volunteer work with the many organizations in Humboldt was very important to him. Brody enjoyed his time debating sports with Blaine, but they only agreed on one thing – and that was the San Francisco 49ers. Other than that, Brody was steadfast in his love for the Winnipeg Jets, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, the Toronto Blue Jays, and, of course, the Humboldt Broncos.
The first time James Folster of the Humboldt Soup Kitchen met Brody, was when he was 9 years old.
Brody was a big boy, and James soon named him as his bodyguard. James remembers that Brody had a tendency to be clumsy, and bumped into lots of things while in the kitchen. Now if anything falls from a shelf in the soup kitchen, James will be reminded of Brody. Brody spent many hours volunteering his time to help others through the soup kitchen.
The United Church played an important role in Brody’s life and his faith journey. He enjoyed his time in youth group and other church activities that brought him into contact with people from the church community.
Brody was a gift to Humboldt.
On December 10th of this past year, Brody turned 18. The next day, on the Discover Humboldt website, Brody wrote a blog entitled “What It Feels Like to Be 18.”
These are his words.
"Yesterday was my birthday. And now I'm 18 years old. There's so much I can do now that I'm 18! I can buy lottery tickets, vote in elections, purchase stuff from infomercials, Go into Alberta or Quebec and go to the bar, etc.
I know that legally here in Saskatchewan you have to be 19 to officially be considered an adult but now that I'm 18 I feel like there's much more freedom.
But being 18 isn't all that joyous as now I've got to pay taxes (Woohoo!), find a place to live, pay bills, get ready to graduate high school etc. It all seems surreal.
18 is a huge milestone in life. Personally, it feels like I've restarted life being 18! I'm speechless when it comes to things to say because it's such an interesting moment to be 18! These next 365 days will bevery interesting and I hope a lot of good things happen.
Gone are the teenage years, cause now I'm 18. I am a mature adult.
December 10, 1999, I came into this world, and now 18 years later here I am, doing things I thought I would never get to do!
That's because I'm 18!"
Brody was a gift to us all.