The Western Hockey League is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of former Regina Pats forward Brad Hornung.

Hornung passed away Tuesday evening following a brief but courageous battle with cancer. He was to turn 53 on Sunday, February 13.

“Brad was not only a great friend to all of us at the WHL, but his positive outlook on life was an inspiration to everyone who knew him,” commented WHL Commissioner Ron Robison. “Brad will always have a special place in our hearts, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends during this difficult time.”

Hornung, a native of Regina, Sask., played two seasons with the Regina Pats, registering 101 points (49G-52A) in 126 regular season games played.

On March 1, 1987, Hornung’s playing career came to a premature end when he suffered a severe spinal cord injury following an on-ice collision, rendering him a quadriplegic.

Though his playing days came to an end, Hornung remained close to the game of hockey, serving as a scout for many years, including stints with the Chicago Blackhawks and the NHL’s Central Scouting Service. He remained a fixture at the Brandt Centre in Regina, where his No. 8 hangs from the rafters, having been retired by the Pats.

In April 1988, the WHL restructured its awards format, including the introduction of the Brad Hornung Trophy, awarded annually to the WHL player who best displays the same attributes as Brad – talent, desire, and an unmistakable sportsmanlike attitude. The WHL had previously presented an award for sportsmanship dating back to 1966-67. Each year, Brad looked forward to joining the latest class of promising WHL stars at the annual WHL Awards, where he would present the Brad Hornung Trophy to the Most Sportsmanlike Player.

Despite the adversity he faced, Hornung pushed forward, completing his high school education before eventually pursuing and receiving a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History from Campion College at the University of Regina in 1996. He continued to prioritize ongoing education at the University of Regina, and was recognized for his courage and perseverance with an honourary Doctor of Laws degree on June 8, 2018.