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Bighorns player killed in car crash

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According to Lewis and Clark Coroner Mickey Nelson, a Helena Bighorns athlete is dead after a fatal car crash early Friday morning.

UPDATE: 21:31 03-15-2013

Team Honors Fallen Player At Helena Ice Arena

Several Helena residents gathered at the Helena Ice Arena tonight to honor Bighorn Player, Wyatt Winfield, who died in a car accident earlier this morning.  Beartooth NBC sat down with the Bighorns today to talk about their teammate and friend.

Mike Butters: "To see a young man like him with this life in front of him to be taken away like this is just an accident... it's just devastating. It's tragic.”

Early this morning Wyatt Winfield and an 18 year-old passenger were driving on Lincoln road when Winfield suddenly lost control of his truck after the front left wheel fell off the vehicle.  After veering off the road, the truck rolled two times, throwing Winfield from the driver's seat.  He was transported to St. Peter's Hospital, where he died just four hours later.  Teammate Theo Campe says it won’t be the same on the ice without him.

Campe says, "He worked hard, finished every hit and you knew on nights when things weren’t going for all of us you knew Wyatt would be the one to turn it around with a hit or something.

Campe says he has fond memories of Winfield, including one particular when he single handled turned a game around for the bighorns.

Campe says, “Little Wyatt being all 5' 6'' of him puts this kid over the boards who is 6' 2''.  I mean that was pretty big. Turned it all around.  We ended up winning that night. Came to the bench, he's like 'I can't believe I did that. That just happened"

The team decided to play their play- off game tonight against the Missoula Maulers.  They had a moment of silence for Wyatt, to honor his memory.  General Manager of the team, Mike Butters says there is an ominous lesson hidden in this tragedy.

Butters says, "Life is short. It can be short. It can be long. It can be taken away in just a sheer accident and so you got to, you know, live your life to the fullest."

And Campe says that is exactly what Winfield was doing when he played hockey.

Campe says, "Wyatt was living his dream.  He had always grew up wanting to play for the bighorns being a local kid and he was living his dream"

Butters says after four years of hard work on the team Winfield will never be forgotten.

Butters says, "He just kept persevering and working at it. He was enjoying his beat season to date and he's a guy that just sparks on the ice and in the locker room so he'll be sorely missed."

Even though Winfield's jersey now hangs above the team's bench, his legacy will continue to inspire the bighorn players for years to come.

Story by Kelley Smith
Copyright ©2013 Beartooth Communications Company. All Rights Reserved

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Tagged as:

Lincoln Road, Coroner Mickey Nelson, Wyatt Winfield, Mike Butters, fatal car crash, Bighorns Hocky

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