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Utah hockey community mourns deaths of Sandy couple

SANDY — A grief-stricken hockey community is mourning the deaths of a Sandy father and mother killed while driving to Colorado for a hockey tournament in a crash that also injured their two sons.

Bob and Dawn Wight were involved in a car crash Thursday. Sons Kyle and Karsen Wight were taken to a Denver area hospital, where they are expected to make full recoveries, according to condition updates posted on social media.

Neighbor and friend Lori Salter said Kyle suffered a broken arm and broken leg, and Karsen was being treated for internal injuries.

The Wights were heavily involved in hockey. Kyle plays for Brighton High School, and Karsen plays for a U14 team, the West Coast Renegades.

"They would often talk about their parents, how much they loved them, and talk about an upcoming tournament they were going to. Very close-knit family," said Brighton assistant hockey coach Dan Merrill.

"We'll probably play the rest of the season in honor of them," added Liz Merrill, a family friend.

Few details were available Sunday from officials about the crash. Salter said she was told that a semitrailer sideswiped the Wights' vehicle near Laramie, Wyoming.

A woman believed to be from the Cheyenne area who made a donation to the GoFundMe page wrote, "My family members … were first on the scene of the accident as it happened right in front of their home/business. They helped as much as they could until an ambulance and medical assistance arrived. My church members are praying for this family."

Salter said the Wights were on the road for a hockey tournament seemingly every weekend. The family loved hockey so much that Salter recalled Bob Wight making a rink in his backyard.

"In the middle of winter, this is when winters were cold, Bob would be out there with his hose. He would freeze his whole backyard. Every night he would put another layer on. Well, one night I hear (skating noises) and he's out there skating around his backyard," she said.

Over the weekend, the Utah hockey community reacted to the deaths.

"This tragedy not only affects the Brighton hockey team but the entire Salt Lake and Boise hockey communities as both boys played for multiple travel teams. Kyle and Karsen both sustained injuries but are expected to make a full recovery. They are currently in a hospital in the Denver area with two incredible, strong and caring coaches from the (West Coast Renegades) program," the Utah Amateur Hockey Association wrote on its website.

"After some effort from the authorities in Denver, family members from out of state were notified and traveled to Denver as quick as possible to be with the boys on Friday evening," the statement continued.

A GoFundMe page was set up to help with the boys' medical expenses.

"The Wight family has made a huge impact on the Utah hockey community as the boys have played on several teams in the Salt Lake and Boise areas for many years. Bob and Dawn were a staple in the stands and around the rink. They were friends to all the other parents and players, always ready to shake your hand with a smile and share a crazy laugh. There will be a space in the stands and our hearts that can never be filled," according to the GoFundMe page.

Many tributes and messages of condolence were posted on social media by various hockey organizations, including the Utah High School Hockey Page, North American Hockey League and BYU hockey program.

"Our sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to these two young men who have lost their parents and who are now recovering in a hospital in the Denver area. As we too travel now to Denver to play hockey, we would like to encourage all of our BYU hockey fans everywhere (to) take a moment to pray for these young men and their family," the BYU hockey team wrote on its Facebook page.

Some on social media talked about memories of working with Bob and Dawn Wight at Snowbird Ski Resort. Tributes were also posted from the families of opposing teams.

"This is such a tragic accident. My heart breaks for these boys. Their parents were supportive of every hockey player regardless of the team they played for. They always asked how my kids were doing," wrote one man.

The Utah Outliers hockey organization held a moment of silence before one of their games Saturday in honor of the Wights.

Crisis counselors were expected to be at the boys' schools, Brighton High and Eastmont Middle School, on Monday.

Contributing: Ashton Goodell

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