It was more than just a game for the Surrey Eagles and their fans Friday night.
Joseph, 20, was one of the 16 people who died in the Humboldt Broncos’ bus crash April 6. Joseph played for the Eagles during the 2015/16 season.
Players from both teams gathered at centre ice for a moment of silence. Joseph’s number, 10, was raised to the rafters.
“It’s more than a hockey game tonight, it’s going to be emotional honouring all of the members of the Humboldt Broncos who lost their lives, especially Jaxon who played for the Surrey Eagles,” Eagles forward Eric Linell said in a pregame interview.
Eagles assistant captain Eric Linell talks pre-game about an emotional night coming up at South Surrey Arena, and how the team is looking to get on the right track. pic.twitter.com/aDo3UgxDhA— Surrey Eagles (@SurreyEagles) September 29, 2018
“I’ve heard he was a great kid, great hockey player, worked hard on the ice and off the ice as well, great in the community. I’ve heard nothing about great things about him.”
The first 250 fans of Friday’s game received a commemorative puck honouring Joseph. Hockey sticks were placed at the entrance of the arena, following a trend that happened across Canada as a tribute for the victims.
During the game, the team sold special Humboldt-inspired Eagles jerseys to raise money for Joseph’s family.
Joseph’s number is only the second retired by the club. Former forward Jeff Nabseth’s No. 8 jersey was retired after he was killed in a bike accident on Vancouver Island in 1999.
The Eagles won Friday’s game in shootout, 3-2.