Go Fund Me organized for former Minto paralyzed in accident

Prince Albert Mintos captain Kyrell Sopotyk celebrates scoring a second period goal with his teammates as they played against the Moose Jaw Generals on Jan. 13, 2018 in P.A. -- Evan Radford/Daily Herald

Former Prince Albert Mintos captain Kyrell Sopotyk has been paralyzed in an accident over the weekend.

Friend’s of Sopotyk’s family have started a Go Fund Me to raise donations for house renovations, healthcare costs and other additional supports. It can be accessed at https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-support-the-sopotyks.

“If you know the Sopotyk’s you know they’re a family that would do anything for others,” wrote Kathleen Zary, who started the Go Fund Me. “Now, they need our help to support their son Kyrell.”

“Thanks for the overwhelming response,” Zary added in an update. “(It) speaks a lot to the amazing family that you’ve all supported so far. We know the Sopotyk’s are grateful for your support. We ask that you keep the entire Sopotyk family in your hearts at this time.”

Sopotyk, who hails from Aberdeen, played three seasons with the Mintos before joining the WHL’s Kamloops Blazers in 2018. The 2019-20 season was his second in the WHL.

Fellow Blazer Connor Zary, whose mother Kathleen started the Go Fund Me, wrote on Twitter that Kyrell was in an accident over the weekend and is currently in the hospital. He urged residents to donate what they could to the family.

“He is the best guy I know and him and his family would do anything for anyone,” Connor wrote. “Please donate if possible.”

Kathleen said the Sopotyk family has welcomed everyone for as long as she’s known them. When she heard about Sopotyk’s injury, she wanted to do everything she could to return their generosity.

“My only thought was a wonderful family needed help,” Kathleen wrote in an email. If I was in their position (and I can’t think about that), I would want to help and support my son every way possible. I’d want to be there every second. I wouldn’t want to think about work or worrying about a paycheque.

As of Monday evening, the Go Fund Me has raised $111,463 from 1,084 donors. Kathleen said she’s always been impressed with the level of support families in Saskatchewan and Kamloops give to each other.

“I’m surprised at how fast it took off, but not at all surprised that people are so graciously giving.  I’ve always said, if you treat people with respect and generosity, that will come back to you in spades! The Sopotyk family are one of those families that deserves all this love and support.”

The Kamloops Blazers released a statement on Monday supporting Sopotyk as he recovers. The WHL also released a statement, saying Sopotyk was injured in a snowboarding accident over the weekend.

“Everyone associated with the Western Hockey League is deeply saddened by the devastating news regarding Kamloops Blazers forward Kyrell Sopotyk,” the statement read. “The WHL and our member Clubs extend our thoughts and prayers to Kyrell, the entire Sopotyk family, Kyrell’s teammates with the Kamloops Blazers, and all his friends during this challenging time.”