A sense of sorrow hangs heavy in the men’s hockey locker room at York University’s ice rink, where Mark Cross’ jersey hangs by the door.
The 28-year-old was one of the 15 victims who died in the tragic crash aboard the Humboldt Broncos team bus in Saskatchewan on Friday.
In a news release issued on the York Athletics & Recreation site, the university said it was devastated hearing Cross was one of the victims of the crash
“Like all members of the hockey community, the York Lions are extremely saddened by the news of the crash.”
Prior to returning home to his native Saskatchewan, Cross spent five seasons with the Lions club as a player and a staff member between 2011-2016. He graduated with a degree in Kinesiology and health science.
“He was a ferocious competitor who had a vibrant approach to life. There was no one in the room that commanded more respect than Mark,” Head Coach Russ Herrington said in the statement.
“To say we were proud that he was giving back by becoming a coach would be an understatement. Mark was in his element in the hockey arena and I could think of no better mentor for junior hockey players to have than Mark Cross. He has been taken away from us much, much too soon.”
Connor Hale played two seasons alongside Cross, and calls him a tremendous leader who was generous and selfless.
“Mark was an amazing person who made everyone around him better. He was a terrific teammate and an even better friend,” Hale tells CityNews in a written statement. “Mark constantly went out of his way to help and support anyone who needed it. He always had a smile on, which was infectious. Anyone who knew Mark will tell you he was a great person.”
The University is planning to put out Cross’ jersey and a book of condolences for the public to sign, for his family and long-time girlfriend who also attended York.
“He should be remembered for being the amazing guy that he was,” Hale said.
“No one, teammates opponents or otherwise have ever had anything bad to say about him. I wish I could thank him for the time I got to spend with him.”