Four members of the Western Hockey League's Brandon Wheat Kings helped prevent a man from dying by suicide on Tuesday night, according to The Brandon Sun.
Calder Anderson, Nolan Ritchie, Jake Chiasson and Ben Thornton were driving around Brandon, Manitoba after volunteering at the Samaritan House on Tuesday when Ritchie noticed a man standing by a light pole in between the north- and south-bound lanes of the First Street Bridge.
Ritchie, who was driving, made a U-turn and stopped roughly 20 feet from the man before putting on his flashers. Anderson asked the man if he needed help, and the man said he was having "bad thoughts."
"I got out of the car and asked him if he was OK," Anderson said. "He informed me that things weren't great for him and he was having some pretty bad thoughts, so I asked him if we could get some help and he agreed.
"I think the biggest thing in that situation is just to ask the person if they need help, and as soon as I asked, you could see the relief on his face knowing he had someone to care for him."
That's when Chiasson called 911 to get emergency personnel on the way as quickly as possible. First responders were only five minutes away, but the players were still worried as they tried to keep the man occupied until help arrived.
"It was scary, some moments," Anderson said. "He would get up and that's when your heart starts to beat a little faster and things get a little scarier. I didn't get too close to him. I didn't want him to feel any more pressure or anxiety than he was already feeling."
Eventually, police officers arrived on the scene and helped pull the man over the concrete barrier to safety. He was taken to receive treatment and is doing fine now.
The team's leadership group, which includes Ritchie, Chiasson and Anderson, had just spoken to head coach Marty Murray about doing things the right way that morning. Murray told The Brandon Sun that he was incredibly proud of what the four players did for someone in distress.
"It doesn't get any bigger than that," Murray said. "What happens if they drove by or they didn't get out of the car to talk to that gentleman? That makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up for sure.
"I told them after practice [on Wednesday] that's a lot bigger than hockey and what they did was heroic. It was real mature of those guys to do what they did."