This morning the CFL community learned that Tyler Bieber, a Saskatchewan native and member of the CFL family, was one of the fourteen victims who lost their lives in the Humboldt Broncos bus collision on Friday evening.
I want to begin this piece by offering my deepest condolences to everyone who was affected by this unspeakable tragedy. There are no words to describe the shocking nature of what took place 30 kilometres north of Tisdale yesterday, the horror of which will forever impact our nation’s athletic community. Fourteen lives were lost. Thousands of others — those of partners, relatives, friends, teammates, and more — have been changed forever.
With respect to all of the victims of last night’s tragedy, this piece will focus on just one in particular: Tyler Bieber.
I never had the opportunity to meet Tyler, but he was someone who I admired from afar. Tyler ran his own CFL website, cfldaily.ca, for years and used it to provide outstanding coverage of the league long before the rise of many non-traditional media outlets. The website is no longer accessible, but a WordPress affiliate page is still active. I would encourage everyone to read Tyler’s work — while the content is a few years old, it still serves as strong insight into the league we all care so much about.
Tyler was also one of the pioneers of CFL social media, founding his @CFLDaily twitter account in January of 2010. The account was multi-faceted and, like so many of Tyler’s project, ahead of its time.
In addition to sharing his own articles, insight, and analysis, Tyler used his twitter account to amalgamate articles and news from around the league. Despite being relatively inactive for the past two years (more on that in a moment), Tyler’s account still has almost 10,000 followers. His was one of the first accounts I followed after joining Twitter and a huge part of the CFL’s social media landscape.
I’ve embedded some of Tyler’s tweets from over the years below to demonstrate how knowledgeable he was about the CFL and its players. Whether it be CFL-NFL player movement, quirky stats or player analysis, Tyler knew it all and was eager to share.
BC Lions have signed DL Daunte Akra. If you recall in 2011 he was released from the Alouettes so he could pursue a NFL shot with Detroit.
— CFLDaily (@CFLDaily) May 29, 2013
The signing re-unites Morley with his old DC in Calgary, Chris Jones. In 2011 in Jones' defence, Morley recorded 40 tackles/4 sacks. #CFL
— CFLDaily (@CFLDaily) September 6, 2013
Fumble by Fred Stamps was his first since October 21, 2011. #CFL
— CFLDaily (@CFLDaily) September 21, 2013
Drawing up a sketch of CFL-NFL 2011, 11 players counted for 28 work-outs thus far.
— CFLDaily (@CFLDaily) December 30, 2010
Jerrell Freeman has shown flashes before, but in 2011 is taking it to the next level with true playing time. #CFL
— CFLDaily (@CFLDaily) July 31, 2011
In 2007, it was Charles Roberts with over 100 yds and 2 TD's getting WPG to the Cup… In 2011 it's Chris Garrett with 190 and a TD. #CFL
— CFLDaily (@CFLDaily) November 20, 2011
It was his outstanding knowledge of the league that earned Tyler the opportunity to write for CFL.ca toward the end of the 2011 season, an impressive accomplishment for an amateur journalist. Tyler wrote about Grey Cup predictions, league all-stars, coaching history and more for the website, providing a unique voice to the league’s largest formal online platform.
My personal favorite piece of Tyler’s was the CFL name game article that he penned following the emergence of Bear Woods in the 2011 East Division Semi-Final. It highlights not only Tyler’s passion for league history, but also his wit and sense of humour. Despite the sombre emotions of yesterday’s accident weighing heavily upon me, I couldn’t help but laugh while reading the article this morning.
I understand that the reason Tyler took a step back from his work covering the CFL was his decision to pursue sports journalism as a career. Tyler didn’t attend journalism school and, in an ever-changing media landscape, finding work without a degree in journalism was tough.
This was what led Tyler to return to his hometown of Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Tyler was hired by CHBO radio in Humboldt and became the voice of the Broncos SJHL hockey team, which, of course, led to his presence on the team bus during last night’s tragedy. Tyler also coached high school basketball and football in Humboldt, giving up his time to mentor the young athletes of his home province. Tyler can be seen manning the Humboldt Hawks’ sideline in the banner photo of his personal twitter account.
As a non-traditional media person, I owe Tyler a sincere debt of gratitude. Tyler Bieber was one of the people who paved the way for guys like me to offer my thoughts, insight, and analysis about the CFL for relevant, legitimate news outlets. I will never forget his contributions to the league, its fans, and to non-traditional journalists like myself.
Is it possible to miss someone you never even met? What I’m learning today is that the answer is yes.
Rest easy, Tyler.
You will be missed by all.
Very sad to learn of the passing of @TylerABieber in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. He was a humble, kind and knowledgeable journalist who wrote some excellent #CFL content on https://t.co/SVCNIb0F35 for us back in the day. Condolences and much love to his family #HumboldtStrong
— Jaime Stein (@jaimestein) April 7, 2018
Tyler Bieber ran this account, @CFLDaily, with the helmet he custom desgined as his logo for his twitter account. Many of you may remember it.
— CFL News (@CFL_News) April 7, 2018
So sad to learn Tyler Bieber was one of those killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash. Tyler was a knowledgeable, dedicated #CFL fan who was a guest on our show several times. Our thoughts & prayers go out to the Bieber family, and all those affected by this tragedy. #CFLFamily
— BC Lions Den (@BCLionsDen) April 7, 2018
Like Tyler Bieber, I was that young broadcaster chasing a dream calling Junior A hockey. It further shakes me to the core seeing a play-by-play announcer has passed away. Of all the people to think of today, please my fellow broadcast colleagues, let us think of his family R.I.P
— Jamie Smalley (@smalley1981) April 7, 2018
We in the #CFL community join in mourning the loss of Tyler Bieber, a passionate fan and ambassador of the game and #CFLFantasy. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, and those involved with the #humboldtbroncos. #PrayersForHumboldt
— Onside CFL Fantasy (@CFLFantasyFTB) April 7, 2018
Tyler Bieber was an active poster at one time on https://t.co/WnmIgLBKkp. I met him once at a game. A lot of people refer to the site as a community. We just lost a member of that community RIP Tyler
— Govind Achyuthan (@GovA52) April 7, 2018
Like so many others, so sad to hear about the tragic loss of life of wonderful, young, aspiring people in the #HumboldtBroncos accident. Had the opportunity to meet & communicate with Tyler Bieber in early days of #CFL stuff & amateur sport. Wonderful person. #RIP
— Mark Fulton (@FenderGuy69) April 7, 2018
— Angela (@DblCoverage) April 7, 2018