York Lions remembering Mark Cross with Saskatchewan tour

WATCH ABOVE: The York Lions are remembering former player and Humboldt Broncos assistant coach Mark Cross with a tour of Saskatchewan. Carlyle Fiset reports.

The York Lions university hockey team is in Saskatchewan to remember a former player who was killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy.

Mark Cross was one of 16 people killed when the Broncos team bus and a semi collided at an eastern Saskatchewan intersection on April 6.

Cross played for five seasons with the Lions from 2011-16, was an assistant captain for three seasons and was the team’s MVP in his final year.

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After graduating, he coached for a season in Lumsden before being named the Broncos assistant coach prior to the 2017-18 season.

Lions head coach Russ Herrington said the Mark Cross Humboldt Strong Remembrance Tour is a way to keep Cross’s memory alive.

“We knew Mark was proud of his hometown and his home province, and he was always looking for ways to give back to those communities,” Herrington said.

“We are incredibly honoured that the people of Strasbourg and Humboldt have been gracious enough to allow us to bring the Lions to their towns and let us give back in a way that we feel would make Mark proud.”

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The Lions will play three games against teams from the CanWest conference for the tour.

The first game will place on Sept. 20 in Lumsden against the Regina Cougars, with the Cougars rallying to down the Lions 3-2 in overtime.

Proceeds from the game will go to the Mark Cross Memorial Sports Fund.

The Lions will be in Humboldt on Friday to take on Calgary Dinos, with proceeds going to the Humboldt Strong Community Foundation.

The third game will take place in Saskatoon on Sept. 23 when the Lions take on the Saskatchewan Huskies.

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Kaleb Dahlgren, one of 13 people injured in the crash, is taking part in the tour after committing to York for the 2018-19 school year.

The Lions were actively recruiting two other players from the Broncos at the time of the crash – Logan Schatz and Conner Lukan, who both died in the crash.

“We became close with the Broncos organization as a result of Mark’s involvement as an assistant coach and the recruitment of Kaleb, Logan and Conner,” Herrington said.

“We are excited to skate on the same ice and play in front of the Humboldt fans as they did and we truly appreciate the Humboldt community allowing us the opportunity to play this game for them.”

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Dahlgren said it means the world to him to honour Cross.

“It just speaks volumes to how Mark was and what he was like for York University,” Dahlgren said.

“He was the term ‘Heart of a Lion,’ and he showed how to treat everyone equally.”

To remember Cross, the men’s hockey team created a new award to honour his spirit.

The Mark Cross Heart of a Lion Award will be given to the player each season who exemplifies the character, respect, optimism, sacrifice, and selflessness Cross exhibited.

“Everything you’re supposed to be as a human being, Mark was that,” Herrington said.

“He did the ordinary thing in an extraordinary way and that’s what set him apart.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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