Brandon Ward and his older brother Taylor were unlike most siblings: they never fought.
Instead of arguing, family and friends often saw them laughing and joking around together.
“I’ve heard a lot of families where siblings fight all the time, argue all the time, they’re always at their throats,” the boys’ father, Trevor Ward, said. “But it was the complete opposite for my boys.”
The two were known for never taking family for granted and making the most of the time they had together. Their time together was cut short when Taylor was killed in a car accident while serving a mission in Pocatello, Idaho, during Brandon’s senior year.
“I struggled a lot in my senior year,” Brandon said. “I didn’t really focus too much.”
He wasn’t ready to accept Taylor’s absence. In his mind, Taylor was still on a mission. Even to this day, he still likes to think his brother is in Idaho serving the Lord.
“I just didn’t feel like it was real,” Brandon said. “I didn’t feel like acknowledging it at first.”
Trevor felt it was God’s plan for them to have a close relationship and never argue.
Brandon is a goalie on BYU’s hockey team and said he misses having Taylor on the ice with him. The boys were competitive with one another and pushed each other to become better. However, they never let the competition interfere with their relationship.
“They were constantly challenging each other and always having a great time and a lot of fun,” Trevor said. “They challenged each other, but in a positive way.”
Although Taylor isn’t on the ice with him physically now, Brandon said he knows his brother is always there.
He said he has felt his brother’s spirit during practice and after games. Whenever Brandon does something funny or just needs a laugh, he said he can feel Taylor’s spirit.
“I’ve felt his goofy side lately these past few practices,” Brandon said. “I just do some goofy things for fun and it reminds me of him and it helps me loosen up.”
As a way to remember Taylor, Trevor and Brandon decided to include several symbolic images on his goalie helmet. Brandon has a picture of his brother on the back of his helmet. He said most goalies’ helmets have a memorial on the back. He used the memorial to remember Taylor is always in the back of his mind making sure he’s never forgotten.
“His brother is looking and watching over him,” Trevor said.
Brandon said there is a sun, moon, clouds, angels and “ROTC” on his helmet. They also put Taylor’s CTR ring on the front of the helmet.
“One half is the nighttime with a full moon,” Brandon said. “The other half is the daytime with the sun. I have a picture of him in the back and the ROTC. The angel wings represent angels going up to heaven. It has clouds because he loves clouds.”
The entire helmet is simply a symbol of Taylor.
“It’s a symbol for my brother’s rise to heaven,” Brandon said.
Despite his adversity, Brandon has been able to find success this season. He blocked 20 shots leading the team to a 10-2 victory against UVU for its first game earlier this month.