Avalanche and Huskies honor 11-year-old Eagle hockey player
News of the tragedy that unfolded following a hockey practice in Vail on Thursday didn’t take long to reach the highest echelon of the sport.
Eagle’s Lewis Browning was honored at a National Hockey League game Friday in Denver after he was hit by a vehicle and killed Thursday in Vail.
Browning, 11, was struck on the east side of the ground level Lionshead parking structure, a City of Vail spokesperson confirmed.
The ground floor of the structure is accessed through a one-way access gate in the structure’s East Lionshead Circle entrance; the ground floor is not accessible through the structure’s main entrance on South Frontage Road.
An initial police investigation shows no signs of reckless driving, according to the press release issued Thursday. No report was available Sunday as Vail police were still investigating the incident, a city spokesperson confirmed in an email.
Browning was leaving Dobson Ice Arena in Vail on Thursday. The east side of the Lionshead parking structure provides convenient access to the rink via the ground floor entrance to the parking structure on East Lionshead Circle.
Flowers, hockey sticks and jerseys, posters and notes to Lewis now adorn the area near where Browning was struck.
Browning was a goaltender for the local Vail Mountaineers, an under-12 hockey team.
Many of Browning’s teammates and coaches with the Vail Mountaineers were at the Colorado Avalanche game on Friday where Browning’s memory was honored with a moment of reflection.
Browning’s photo was displayed on the Jumbotron, and below the image, the ice was lit in the colors of the Colorado state flag and the players on the ice bowed their heads in remembrance.
The announcer told the crowd about the incident that happened in Vail on Thursday and what Browning means to the entire Colorado hockey community.
“Lewis’ spirit is an example of love for hockey, his teammates and the Avalanche,” he said.
Huskies drop number 30
The Battle Mountain men’s hockey team also commemorated Browning Friday by starting their game with an empty net, running the clock for 30 seconds in honor of Browning’s No. 30. The Huskies program also retired No. 30.
The Huskies split their weekend home games, losing to Chaparral 4-2 on Friday before defeating Resurrection Christian 1-0 in overtime on Saturday. The Huskies went 5-3 this season and 2-1 in the league.
“I think we fought really well,” coach Derek Byron said of the top-tier 5A competition.
“It was obviously a pretty tough weekend for everyone with Lewis passing,” Byron said, noting that many of his athletes knew Browning. “So it was quite an emotional weekend, and it was good to play well.”
The No. 2 Huskies (in Class 4A) entered Friday’s contest against the No. 8 Wolverines (in 5A) on a three-game winning streak. During that streak, they had outclassed their opponents 22-4. Saturday against Resurrection Christian, however, the Huskies had to rely on defense and stellar play from goaltender Logan Gremmer.
“Our keeper was outstanding,” Byron said of Gremmer. “He played with the lights off.”
Byron said it was an emotional weekend.
“It was really difficult for the whole community,” he said.
The Huskies will face Summit at home on January 21 at 3:30 p.m. before heading to Glenwood Springs for another championship game on January 22.
—Ryan Sederquist contributed reporting