The family of late Humboldt Broncos player Evan Thomas will be hosting a charity hockey game to help fund four post-secondary scholarships.

In the days leading up to the grim anniversary of the bus crash, Scott Thomas, Evan’s father, said Canadians from across the county have been sending him and his family warm messages and photos of his son.

“Every day, we receive messages of love from all over Canada,” he told CTV News Channel on Saturday. “It always warms our heart when we hear from Canadians.”

“Certainly lots of warm thoughts, warm memories of him as a baseball player and a hockey player … he was everybody’s buddy,” he said. “Just a good kid with a huge sense of humour and an infectious laugh.”

Evan was one of the 16 people killed after a transport truck collided into the Humboldt Broncos’ team bus, last year.

On April 13, friends and family will be hosting a hockey game and social to remember and honour Evan’s life. The idea was sparked after the family held a similar memorial last year.

“We’re just trying to have a positive experience and remember all the good times we had with Evan,” Thomas said.

The family will be collecting donations at the door that will go towards a memorial trust. They want to use that money to fund four scholarships in Evan’s name. But some of the money will also go towards the Kinsmen Inner City Hockey League.

The four scholarships will come from the Saskatoon Community Foundation, Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association, Vanier Collegiate Institute – where Evan went to school -- and one from the Triple-A Midget teams he played on.

“Every one of those is for graduating high school students who are going to university [and] displays leadership, good marks,” he said. “We just want to give kids the opportunity to have a good start.”

Memorial hockey game started as a 'little thing': father

“[The hockey game] started out with a little thing with just friends and family,” Thomas explained. “Then, all of a sudden all of my daughters friends wanted to get involved [and then] all of Evan’s buddies wanted to play.”

“You know the sport is one thing but … Evan just loved being a teammate,” he said. “Being a teammate teaches you so much about how to operate in the real world … that ability to be a teammate is priceless.”

People from across the country have been putting out hockey sticks on their front doors to show their support for the affected families. Thomas says that hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“We had so much taken away from us -- all the families did when they lost their loved ones -- but we’ve gotten so much,” he said. “So much from the hockey community, so much from the community of Saskatchewan and the community of Canada.”

Thomas recalled a phone call he received from a man in North Bay, Ont., who tearfully recounted how his son had worn Evan’s jersey number in a local tournament and “had the best game of his life.”

“It’s sentiments like that which continue to happen --a year later-- that you can just see how much every Canadian family felt this loss like it was their own,” he said. “You know, it just warms our heart.”