The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Families of Alberta teens killed in crash thankful for thoughts and prayers

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GRANDE PRAIRIE, Alta. - The families of four high school football players who died in a car crash in northern Alberta say the support they've received from many people across the country and beyond has helped them cope with the tragic loss.

"It's made it a little bit better for us. We can't thank you enough," Darren Davidson, whose stepson Walter Borden-Wilkins was killed in the crash, told a public memorial service held Sunday.

Borden-Wilkins, 15, Tanner Hildebrand, 15, Matthew Deller, 16, and Vince Stover, also 16, died on Oct. 22 when the vehicle they were in crashed with a pickup truck.

Private funeral services for all the teens were held last week, but their families said that on Sunday they wanted to remember the good times.

A stage in the community's arena was lined with photos of the boys. A choir in black robes with orange ribbons over their hearts performed at the service.

Orange is the colour of the uniforms of the Grande Prairie Composite High School Warriors, which is the team all four of the boys played for.

A fifth teen, who also played for the Warriors, was severely injured in the crash and remains in an Edmonton hospital.

Grande Prairie Mayor Bill Given told the service he was amazed by the amount of support shown to his community by people across North America.

Many high school football teams honoured the players with moments of silence during games in the past week.

The Edmonton Eskimos and Calgary Stampeders in the CFL have also said they would wear a logo of the Warriors on their helmets for their final two regular season games.

Brenden Holubowich, 21, faces 11 charges in connection with the crash, including impaired driving causing death and failure to remain at the scene. He is due to appear in court on Monday.

The public memorial followed a dramatic win Saturday by the Warrior, who routed the Sexsmith Sabres 40-0 in the Mighty Peace Football League semi-final game to advance to the league's championship.

Coach Rick Gilson, who's also the school's principal, said the team held an emotional moment of silence before the start of the game.

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