Remembering Lewis Browning: Hockey community comes together to celebrate the life of local 11-year-old

Local goalie touched the lives of hundreds in Eagle County

Lights were dimmed and electric candles glow in a moment of silence for Lewis Browning Monday in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Hundreds of hockey players, coaches, parents and supporters gathered Monday in Vail to remember peewee goalie Lewis Browning, 11, who died Thursday.

The group was described by Hockey Mom Kristi Scheidegger as one big family, and that family has been grieving together since the tragedy, a car accident in the Lionshead Parking structure in the area where locals park to access the ice rink in Vail.

People pay their respects to Lewis Browning Monday in Vail.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Browning was leaving the ice rink when he was struck by a vehicle rounding the corner of the parking structure on the east side, an area where it can be difficult to see around the bend, even for slow-moving vehicles. An initial investigation by police shows no signs of careless driving.

Scheidegger encouraged everyone in attendance to look around the room and acknowledge that they are one big family.

“And these are the people you can reach out to in the days, the weeks, and the months to come, when things feel tough,” she said. “As we move forward from tonight, please remember that you’re not alone, and we have an amazing community here to help us.”

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Kristi Scheidegger speaks at the Lewis Browning memorial Monday at Donovan Pavilion in Vail. People packed the building to show support for the Browning family.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

It was a message that was echoed by Dr. Abbey Fox, a former collegiate hockey player who is a licensed clinical psychologist.

Fox used the metaphor of physical injury, something hockey players know well, to relay the message to the youth in attendance that psychological injuries take time to heal, as well.

“What happened on Thursday is what we call trauma, which is an unexpected event that nobody could see coming, and that impacts everyone in this room,” she said.

“As young boys with all sorts of different things that you may be thinking about or wondering about, it’s all normal and OK, and you will heal from the injury, in time,” Fox added.

Vail Mountaineer Director of Hockey Dave Bishop recited a poem, and a moment of silence was observed for Browning.

Electric candles make a "30" for Lewis Browning's hockey jersey number at his remembrance Monday at Donovan Pavilion in Vail. Browning played for the Vail Mountaineers hockey club.
Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily

Bishop said he had received messages of condolences from Canada, Germany and across Colorado.

The Colorado Avalanche professional hockey team honored Browning at a recent game, and the Vail Mountaineer peewee teams returned to the ice over the weekend, as well, with other peewee teams sharing their goalies so the under-12 Mountaineer team, where Browning was the goalie, could play with a full squad.

Scheidegger said when the Vail Mountaineer Hockey Team hits the ice in the months to come, they will continue to play for Browning.

“That’s what he would want,” she said.

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