May 21, 2018

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Broadcasters offer to call games to honour memory of Broncos broadcaster Bieber

When Les Lazaruk looked up at the broadcast booth at Elgar Petersen Arena during Tyler Bieber's funeral service, he thought of an idea to honour the memory of the Humboldt Broncos play-by-play announcer.

Lazaruk offered to call a Broncos game next season for free and he put out a call on Twitter for fellow broadcasters to do the same. It wasn't long before several prominent on-air personalities volunteered their services.

Sportsnet's Rob Faulds and TSN's Chris Cuthbert and Gord Miller all tweeted offers to participate in the initiative. Other broadcasters from a variety of leagues and sports also wanted to get involved and support the effort.

"Tyler loved sports and he was involved in sports in all kinds of ways because it was his passion," Miller said Friday from Chicago. "He loved to do it. I think a great way to honour him is to show our passion for it too."

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When Les Lazaruk looked up at the broadcast booth at Elgar Petersen Arena during Tyler Bieber's funeral service, he thought of an idea to honour the memory of the Humboldt Broncos play-by-play announcer.

Lazaruk offered to call a Broncos game next season for free and he put out a call on Twitter for fellow broadcasters to do the same. It wasn't long before several prominent on-air personalities volunteered their services.

Bus crash victim Tyler Bieber, Bolt FM personality and play-by-play broadcaster for the Humboldt Broncos, is shown in a photo on display at a vigil at Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt, Sask., on Monday, April 9, 2018. Several Canadian broadcasters are offering to take part in an initiative to honour the memory of Humboldt Broncos play-by-play announcer Tyler Bieber. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

Bus crash victim Tyler Bieber, Bolt FM personality and play-by-play broadcaster for the Humboldt Broncos, is shown in a photo on display at a vigil at Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt, Sask., on Monday, April 9, 2018. Several Canadian broadcasters are offering to take part in an initiative to honour the memory of Humboldt Broncos play-by-play announcer Tyler Bieber. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

Sportsnet's Rob Faulds and TSN's Chris Cuthbert and Gord Miller all tweeted offers to participate in the initiative. Other broadcasters from a variety of leagues and sports also wanted to get involved and support the effort.

"Tyler loved sports and he was involved in sports in all kinds of ways because it was his passion," Miller said Friday from Chicago. "He loved to do it. I think a great way to honour him is to show our passion for it too."

Bieber, who was 29, also coached high school basketball and football teams. He was one of 16 people who died after the Broncos' bus and a transport truck collided last week near Tisdale, Sask.

Hundreds of mourners attended Bieber's funeral service on Thursday.

Lazaruk, the play-by-play voice of the Western Hockey League's Saskatoon Blades, said with the Broncos set to play 58 games next season, he's hoping 57 other broadcasters can enter the booth for a game apiece.

He added the initial response to his initiative was overwhelming.

"We're going to have an all-star lineup of people doing Humboldt Broncos games, so long as we can put this together and that's the next thing that has to happen," he said from Saskatoon.

Lazaruk said he would try to make arrangements with the local radio station, team and the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in the near future. Sarah Miller, the program director at 107.5 Bolt FM in Humboldt, tweeted that she sincerely appreciates the idea, adding it's an amazing way to honour Tyler.

Cuthbert, who got his start in the business with the SJHL's Yorkton Terriers in 1979-80, has been moved by the many initiatives to support those affected by the tragedy.

"The hockey community is tight and I think we've all had that reinforced in the last week," Cuthbert said from Las Vegas. "You've seen the response right across the hockey world."

The Broncos bus was headed to Nipawin for a playoff game when it collided with a semi truck at an intersection.

The cause of the crash is under investigation.

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Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter

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