A junior hockey player who was recently traded to the Swift Current Broncos is playing on to honour his billet mother, who died just before his move from Calgary.

Matteo Gennaro, now with Swift Current, was just days away from the trade when his billet mother, Andrea Gallant, died on November 26.

"You create a special bond with your billet family, and everyone who plays junior hockey knows that. For me, she was a pretty special lady,” said Matteo Gennaro.

Gennaro’s coach, Emmanuel Viveiros, said he told the player to take the time he needs before returning to the ice.

"It was a terrible shock to everyone in the hockey communities, especially in the Western League,” Viveiros said. “I think it’s a credit to himself that he came here so early.”

Without talking a break, Gallant returned to the rink on December 1, just a day after the funeral for Gallant in Calgary.

"She meant a lot to me. (She was) a huge hockey fan. She was a rock in my life,” Gennaro said. “I know she’s watching me, and she'd want me to be playing,”

Gennaro made his Broncos debut on Friday. He was part of the blockbuster trade that recently shook the Western Hockey League, as nine players switched between the Calgary Hitmen and the Broncos.

Gennaro is one of the league’s top scorers, with 26 points in 23 games in the 2017-18 WHL season.

With files from Josh Diaz.