‘It’s a huge loss’: Pembroke holds memorial for best friends killed in car crash

PEMBROKE, MASS. (WHDH) - Holding hockey sticks as a funeral procession passed by, Pembroke residents came together to mourn two best friends who died in a car crash last week.

Joey Birolini and Billy Hickey, both 23, were killed in a car crash early last Saturday morning. Community members have set up a memorial at the scene of the crash, lit up the town common with luminaries, and held a virtual remembrance on community TV before this Saturday’s funeral.

Friends said the pair were like family — best friends since kindergarten, winning a state hockey championship as kids and serving as captains of the hockey team in high school.

“When they were little … they would be out playing hockey together. street hockey, hockey tournaments away for the weekend with families and all those good times on and off the ice,” said Jenna Gillis.  “It’s a huge loss for us as friends of the families, and knowing these kids were such a huge asset to the community.”

The friends will be buried side-by-side, while community members said they were still coming to terms with the deaths.

“Billy and Joey were so young and this is so tragic,” said Salem State hockey coach. William O’Neill. “We’re all broken, and we’re trying to heal. It’s just a difficult process.”

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