It was back to work for the Calgary Stampeders Tuesday after the loss of a teammate on the weekend, but the memory of Mylan Hicks wasn’t far from the players minds.
Jamar Wall will start wearing Hicks’ number 31 beginning at this weekend’s game in Hamilton. Wall said he had taken Hicks under his wing to help a fellow defensive back who was on the team’s practice squad.
“I felt like that was something I should do, being a leader on the back end and him being in my position, loving him like a true brother that would be my privilege to do that in honour of him,” Wall said following practice.
Hicks, who was 23, was shot outside a nightclub following an altercation early Sunday morning.
Officers responded to reports of a shooting at the Marquee Beer Market and Stage at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday, where they found a man in his 20s who’d been wounded. He was taken to hospital in life-threatening condition and later died.
Several players, including Wall, were at the bar after their win Saturday against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“I was there. I was there but I missed the actual incident. Being there…it’s something you can’t explain. You can’t describe. There’s no words for it,” he said.
It also makes him wonder what might have happened if someone might have had the chance to step in.
“I know there were guys that were there who were thinking the same thing but it happened,” he said.
“Guys are going to deal with some things emotionally, mentally, physically. They’re going to wonder could I have stepped in to defuse the situation but we couldn’t. I think if anybody could’ve we probably would have done it.”
Head coach Dave Dickenson said he felt both shock and sadness when he heard what had happened.
He said this has brought a team in the midst of a 12-game unbeaten streak even closer together.
“I love our team and you know didn’t need something like this to bring us together but we really feel even tighter. We loved Mylan and it’s very, very, very tragic but our team will stay together,” Dickenson said.
He said the Stampeders will do what they can to help Hicks’ mother and father, who are coming in from Detroit later this week. He said he hopes both sides can share some memories and stories.
“We definitely need closure as well,” Dickenson said. “We need to heal and I believe we can do that. I think our team wants to talk to the parents too. I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life so I think it’s good.
“There’s some other guys who have had some really negative experiences. I’d like to think the parents could draw strength from us and vice versa.”
Veteran running back Rob Cote said it was a sombre feeling entering the locker-room Tuesday.
“It’s so wrong…and it’s really tough,” said Cote, adding the rest of the season will be dedicated to Hicks.
“This is not something that anyone’s going to put behind them. They’re not going to forget. This is a young man who should be here today.
“The hurt we’re feeling in this locker room is very real and it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what his family is feeling right now. That just sickens me.”
Police have charged Nelson Tony Lugela, 19, with second-degree murder.