Saturday, 4 April 2009

Losing Hurts More

April is normally the time when hockey teams are gearing up for the race to the playoffs. Teams that are on the bubble are battling with everything they have to make the cut, while the teams who have clinched a playoff spot are getting themselves healthy as they look to make a long run in the playoffs. However, April 2 changed the entire season for Taylor Pyatt. The Vancouver Canucks' forward left the team indefinitely after receiving news that his finacée Carly Bragnalo had passed away in Jamaica after being in a car accident.

Bragnalo and her mother, Debra, were passengers in a car driven by Craig Sutherland. There were also three other individuals in the Toyota Altis, a car similar to a Corolla, including Marcie Kawahorne. Kawahorne, Sutherland, Debra Bragnalo, and one other unnamed individual were taken to hospital with injuries. Reportedly, Carly was thrown from the vehicle in the accident.

From The Province, here is the report as to what happened:

"According to Jamaica’s Constabulary Communication Network’s (CCN) liaison officer for St. Elizabeth, the accident happened around 4.30 a.m. while Sutherland was driving a Toyota Altis toward Treasure Beach with the five passengers aboard.

"He tried to negotiate a corner and lost control of the vehicle, which collided into a utility pole and overturned. They were taken to the Black River Hospital, where Carly was pronounced dead and the others admitted in serious condition. The Pedro Plains Police are investigating."

Pyatt and Bragnalo were to be married this summer after the Canucks' playoff run had ended. Pyatt, according to all accounts, was excited for the union, and one can only assume that Bragnalo was also looking forward to the big day. The high school sweethearts were inseparable, and Pyatt would call her every night to talk.

Sure, the NHL playoffs are a major event every year for players who are playing in them. There is no bigger rush than a win in the playoffs where every game could mean life or death. But we use that metaphor loosely in that the playoffs aren't even close to that when a tragedy such as this hits home.

Carly Bragnalo, a beautiful 27 year-old woman, passed away after succumbing to her injuries. My heart goes out to the entire Bragnalo family, the Pyatt family, and, especially, Taylor Pyatt. If he doesn't return this season, I would completely understand why. And I'm sorry for the loss that everyone in Thunder Bay, Ontario is suffering.

Get well soon, Mrs. Bragnalo. My thoughts and prayers are with you while you recover.

To the Canucks, good luck in the playoffs. Come together for Carly and for Taylor. Play like a team possessed and dedicate every game, every shift, every second to your teammate. Carly wasn't just his fiancée - she was part of the Canucks family.

To the Pyatt and Bragnalo families, I wish you nothing but the best in this time of tragedy, and send my heartfelt condolences to you and yours in your time of grieving. Carly was a beautiful women, and, from what I've read, a beautiful person both inside and out.

To Taylor Pyatt, my thoughts and prayers are with you. I can't say I know what you're going through, so I won't even try. Take as much time as you need before coming back to the NHL. Your loss is greater than any playoff game loss, and I can't imagine how much it must hurt. My thoughts and prayers are with you as well.

If you'd like to send your condolences to the Pyatt and Bragnalo families, you can do so online here.

Sometimes, there are things that are more important than hockey. It is times like this that real, personal tragedy puts everything in perspective. Family are one of those things, and I wish nothing but the best for the Pyatts and Bragnalos as they try to recover from this tragedy.

Rest in peace, Carly Bragnalo. Your exuberance and positivity towards life will light up heaven's skies.

Until next time, remember Carly.

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