Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)

Kyrell Sopotyk was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in 2016 and played two seasons with the Western Hockey League club. (Photograph By ALLEN DOUGLAS/KTW)

Kamloops Blazer paralyzed in snowboarding accident sparks fundraiser for family

As of Jan. 24, more than $68,000 had been raised to help Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk

––Kamloops This Week

An online fundraising campaign has been launched upon news that Kamloops Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk was paralyzed in a snowboarding accident this weekend (Jan. 23-24).

Sopotyk, 19, is from Aberdeen, Sask., though it has not yet been stated where the accident occurred.

The online fundraiser had collected more than $68,000 as of Sunday night (Jan. 24) and is being organized by Kathleen Zary of Saskatoon, mother of fellow Kamloops Blazer Connor Zary.

The money being raised will be used to support any possible renovations needed at the Sopotyk home, health-care costs and any additional supports the family may require.

The Kamloops Blazers issued a statement after learning of the accident.

“We are devastated at the news of Blazers’ forward Kyrell Sopotyk. Kyrell suffered a life-altering injury this weekend,” the statement reads. “He is a tremendous young man and an exemplary representative of our hockey club. The Blazer family is behind Kyrell and the Sopotyks. At this time, we will respect the privacy of his family.”

Sopotyk played with the Prince Albert Mintos under-18 team before being drafted by Kamloops in the 2016 Western Hockey League Bantam Draft. In two seasons with the Blazers — 2018-2019 and 2019-2020 — he played 107 games, notching 45 points.

On Nov. 11, 2019, Sopotyk was injured when he was checked from behind in a game against the Kelowna Rockets. He missed a number of games as a result of that injury, which saw him careen head-first into the boards at Sandman Centre. The player who delivered the hit, Pavel Novak, received an eight-game suspension.

In a statement on the fundraising page Sunday, Zary said the community response has been overwhelming.

“We ask that you keep the entire Sopotyk family in your hearts at this time.”

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