The legacy of a young hockey player from Saskatchewan will allow more kids in Winkler also to enjoy the game.

In 2022, the Winkler Flyers alumni team celebrated the 25th anniversary of its MJHL championship, and proceeds from their 50/50 draw were donated to the Evan Thomas Memorial Trust Fund.

Evan tragically passed away in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April 2018.

Evan's grandparents, Frank and Betty Thomas, were in Winkler this week to announce a new endowment fund that will be facilitated by the Winkler Community Foundation (WCF). The fund is a joint effort between the Evan Thomas Memorial Fund and Winkler Minor Hockey.

Frank Thomas says they have started the fund with a combined $5,000. He says they hope to bring that $5,000 closer to $40,000. 

"Ryan (Friesen) has put together some money. We also have a few others in the background that are interested in joining us," said Frank. 

The initiative intends to at least cover registration for one male and one female every year to play hockey. If funds are not disbursed for that purpose, the money will still go to Winkler Minor Hockey to reduce the cost for all hockey players.  

Frank said they believe this endeavor will help the community of Winkler. "We're pleased to be able to do this. We think it certainly fits the mandate for the Trust." 

"We hope there are people out there who think enough of the minor hockey system. We had two of our sons play in the Winkler Minor Hockey system, and graduated to play for the (Winkler) Flyers. All three of our grandsons came through the minor hockey system, so we certainly understand."

"I think it's also important the Thomases themselves, and Evan himself, has left a lasting mark on our community," shared Winkler Minor Hockey President, Ryan Friesen. To his best ability, Friesen said he wants to leave that lasting mark as a positive contribution to our community. 

"I also, for myself, really believe strongly in kids being able to participate in sports for the life lessons that come from it. Not every child has the ability to participate to the extent they might like to." 

"On behalf of the Winkler Community Foundation, we appreciate working with Frank and Betty Thomas. Their passion for impacting the community is evident," said WCF Executive Director Myra Peters. "I'm excited to be working with them and Winkler Minor Hockey on this fund, and impacting the young people in our community who want to play hockey for years to come."

Frank said hockey was a sport their grandson liked a lot, but it was the people he loved.

"I remember a conversation when Evan was struggling just after Christmas. Betty and I were in Saskatoon visiting his dad and his mom, and Evan had phoned Scott (Evan’s dad), and was in tough shape. And Scott said, ‘Well fine. Come on home. We'll get on with the rest of your life, we'll get you registered in university."

Frank said Evan replied, "I can't leave these guys. I can't leave my team."

Frank said hockey was a conduit to all the other things that make sports worthwhile. "The dressing room, pizza after the game. Hanging around with your buddies at the tournament. That was what it was about."

Anyone interested in joining this initiative in memory of Evan Thomas can click HERE to learn more about the legacy projects made possible thanks to the Evan Thomas Memorial Fund.

You can also contact Frank Thomas at 204-724-5749, or email  for more details

Donations can also be made online at or by mail to #2-880L 15th Street, Winkler MB R6W 0H5