Someone who always treated people with the care and dignity they deserved — that’s how most will remember the late Stephen Wack, according to his best friend of 14 years.
The 21-year-old defenseman from St. Albert, Alta. was one of 16 people who died after the Humboldt Broncos team bus and a semi collided on April 6, while travelling to a playoff game in Nipawin.
Although Wack loved playing hockey, his childhood best friend, Curtis Peck, said it’s the relationships he made along the way that meant the most to him.
“(Stephen) made so many good friendships growing up,” he said. “The thing that always comes to me is that hockey never ever really defined who Stephen really was.”
Outside of sports, Peck said Wack was known for his passion for videography and making YouTube videos — many of which he had helped him create.
“The first video we ever put together on his YouTube channel is when we were golfing on his trampoline and we were doing some trampoline trick shots with his GoPro — it just took off from there,” remembered Peck.
“He’d Facetime me about one of the videos he’d be putting together and he’d be like, ‘What do you think about this? What do you think about that?’ And I’d say, ‘Stephen, it’s perfect. There’s nothing you need to change.'”
Unlike many other junior hockey players, Peck noted Wack’s dream was never to go to the NHL, but to eventually move to Toronto with his brother to pursue a business degree and master his videography.
Goals and passions aside, Peck said, underneath it all, Wack lived his everyday life in a way that valued people over things, and that’s how he’ll always remember his best friend.
“He grew up with so much respect and always treated everyone as an equal – no matter what or who you were. He was just an amazing guy,” Peck explained. “If you take a little bit of Stephen Wack in your life, and live every day with a little bit of Stephen, I think you’ll become a better person.”
A combined memorial service is being held at Rogers Place arena in Edmonton for Wack and three other teammates from Alberta who died in the crash — Jaxon Joseph, Logan Hunter and Parker Tobin.