Saying goodbye to a warrior

UW Athletics has reported that 22-year-old Tyler Norrie, a member of the men’s hockey team, passed away suddenly in Simcoe, Ontario at approximately 6:30 p.m. on June 3. He was riding a stationary bicycle at the Norfolk Fitness Centre.

The Simcoe native was a geography and environment student and had been with the team for one year.

“I am extremely saddened by the death of Tyler. My thoughts, and those of the entire University of Waterloo community, are with the Norrie family at this difficult time,” said men’s hockey team head coach Brian Bourque in a UW Athletics press release. “Tyler was exactly the type of person that coaches look for. He was loved by his teammates. He showed up every day with a hard-working positive attitude. His hockey sense was great and he was determined to have a positive impact on the team.”

The faculty of environment’s associate dean, undergraduate Jeff Casello said in a statement, “It’s clear from the tributes paid to Tyler Norrie that he was an extremely well-liked student with a real flair for hockey — he will be missed. The faculty of environment mourns the loss of a hard-working young man and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”

Norrie played in nine games with the Warriors last season, scoring three goals. A 5’10” forward, Norrie was a noted goal-scorer during his junior hockey career, and was beginning to crack the Warriors’ rotation. Two of Norrie’s goals came in a high-stakes matchup against the Lakehead Thunderwolves Feb. 14; his other goal, on Jan. 28, sent the “Battle of Waterloo” meeting with Laurier into overtime.

“He almost cherished or relished the opportunity to be a bit of the underdog and prove people wrong,” Bourque told CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. “Very hard working, always positive.”

A university counsellor spoke to players from the men’s hockey team during a meeting last week.

Many of Norrie’s teammates wrote tributes to him on Twitter, sharing pictures and memories. An outpouring of support for the UW Athletics community and Norrie’s family came from universities and organizations all over Waterloo, Simcoe, and the province.

Prior to coming to UW, Norrie played in the Junior B ranked Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League for three seasons with the Brantford Golden Eagles and the Caledonia Corvairs, scoring 96 points in 146 games. The Corvairs have retired his number 22 jersey, and his number 16 Warriors jersey is on display at Columbia Ice Field.

Norrie is survived by his parents Duncan Norrie and Karen Hishon of Simcoe, and his sister Lynsey Norrie, a student at Wilfrid Laurier University.

In an interview with CHCH TV, Duncan Norrie described his son as his best friend, and spoke of his work ethic and tenacity.

“You usually pay your dues in the first year and you don’t get as much ice time. But every team he’s been on, he’s proven to get the ice time, and he always did,” said Norrie. “He did awesome in school, I was so proud of him. I still am proud of him.”

Norrie had no known medical conditions, and an examination was inconclusive.

The men’s hockey team coaching staff and a number of the players attended Norrie’s funeral on Saturday, June 7 in Simcoe. The family has asked that donations in Norrie’s memory be made to Camp Trillium – Rainbow Lake.