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Carey Price sends condolences to family of Cree hunters who died in fire

06/23/2015 05:38 EDT | Updated 06/23/2016 05:59 EDT
The father and brother of two of the Cree hunters who died in a cabin fire near Mistissini, Que. earlier this year says Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens has touched many in the community with the simple act of sending his condolences.

In the week leading up to Father's Day Jason Coonishish received a letter from Price, the Canadiens' starting goaltender, which said he had learned Coonishish was going through a "difficult time" and that he wanted to offer his support and sincere condolences on behalf of the team. 

"The letter he sent greatly touched me," said Coonishish.

Coonishish's son Chiiwetin, 22, and his brother Emmett, 39, were found dead on April 1 along with Charlie Gunner, 37, Kevin Loon, 33, and David Jimiken, 38, in a hunting cabin that had been destroyed by fire at Bussy Lake, about 300 kilometres north of Chibougamau. 

"I guess he thought of my late son, who was a goalie when he played hockey and him (Carey) being a goalie in the NHL," he said.

Coonishish said he was surprised and touched that Price would take the time and reach out to other First Nations when he hears their stories.

Price grew up in the First Nations community of Anahim Lake, in northern B.C., where his mother was a former chief of the Ulkatcho First Nation.

Coonishish says he, like many others who lost a loved one in the fire, are still grieving their loss. He says he worries most about the young people who lost their fathers in the fire.

"It's like a roller coaster. They all have ups and downs with their emotions," said Coonishish.

"There are days when we are in good spirits; the next day we feel like we are reliving the pain. We feel it in different ways."

He says he is happy to see the boys participate in community feasts and says they get a lot of support from other community members and friends, which helps a lot. 

Coonishish says he hopes to bring Cole, Emmett's son, and Koby, the son of Charlie Gunner, to Montreal and to a Montreal Canadiens game to meet Price in person. 

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