Monday, July 22, 2024

Humboldt Broncos: Coronavirus mars second anniversary of team tragedy

Humboldt Broncos Tragedy

On April 6th 2018 the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team were en-route to a playoff game in Saskatchewan when the bus they were travelling on collided with a transport truck. 13 people were injured and 16 more tragically died.

Today marks the 2nd anniversary of that tragic day that shocked not only the hockey world, but the world as a whole. The event changed the lives of so many friends and family members of those involved.

We are going through strange times at the minute with the COVID-19 pandemic, the ice inside Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt, Sask, is gone. This community’s central gathering place, home of its Humboldt Broncos, sits empty.

Spring hockey camps have been cancelled due to COVID-19. The Coronavirus also forced the cancellation of Monday’s public service marking the two-year anniversary of the Broncos bus crash.

The need for physical distancing hasn’t stopped families and city officials from finding other ways to honour the 16 people who died and the 13 who were injured.
“Hockey’s on the back burner. Everybody’s lives are more important than the game of hockey right now,” Broncos head coach Scott Barney said.

“But we haven’t forgotten. We’ll never forget.”

The streets of central Saskatchewan which has 6000 people living there, won’t be completely empty but scaled right back to keep up with social distancing laws.

Mayor Rob Muench said they’re doing their best to come together, even if it’s online.
“We had to scale things back, but we’re remembering those whose lives were lost or changed forever,” Muench said.

There are plans that Rene Cannon has made with local photographer Marla Possberg, to drive to all the billet homes of players to take photos from her car of their billet families in their Broncos jerseys on their porches.

Humboldt Broncos

Rene Cannon billeted three of the players in their home that year, Adam Herold and Logan Hunter were killed in the crash. Xavier Labelle was severely injured.

Cannon will compile the photos and send the online album to the 29 Broncos families across Western Canada. Cannon said she considers those three young men members of her own family. She wanted to do something special.

“It is going to be an incredibly difficult day. We think about our boys every single day,” Cannon said.

The lives and dreams of these young men maybe gone but their legacy will live on for an eternity. The talent that this young team had will be remembered forever.

There will always be what ifs and no doubts some players would of eventually gone on to the NHL, it’s heartbreaking but together we are all ‘HUMBOLDT STRONG.

The thoughts and prayers from all at The Sports Despatch are sent to those effected by this tragedy.

Memorial for the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team
A lovely mark of respect for all that sadly lost their lives in the tragic accident

16 who sadly lost their lives

  • Logan Alexander Boulet: A 21-year-old defenceman from Lethbridge, Alta.
  • Adam Scott Herold: A 16-year-old defenceman from Montmartre, Sask.
  • Logan William Hunter: An 18-year-old forward from St. Albert, Alta.
  • Jaxon Christopher Joseph: A 20-year-old forward from St. Albert, Alta.
  • Jacob Paul Benjamin Leicht: A 19-year-old forward from Humboldt, Sask.
  • Conner Jamie Lukan: A 21-year-old forward from Slave Lake, Alta.
  • Logan Evan Schatz: A 20-year-old forward from Allan, Sask.
  • Evan Thomas: An 18-year-old forward from Saskatoon, Sask.
  • Parker Allen Tobin: An 18-year-old goalie from Stony Plain, Alta.
  • Stephen Wack: A 21-year-old defenceman from St. Albert, Alta.
  • Tyler Anthony Bieber: A 29-year-old play-by-play announcer from Humboldt, Sask.
  • Dayna Brons: A 24-year-old athletic therapist from Lake Lenore, Sask.
  • Mark Travis Cross: A 27-year-old assistant coach from Strasbourg, Sask.
  • Glen Doerksen: A 59-year-old bus driver from Carrot River, Sask.
  • Darcy Haugan: The team’s 42-year-old head coach from Humboldt, Sask.
  • Brody Joseph Hinz: The team’s 18-year-old statistician from Humboldt, Sask.
Players in remeberence

13 injured

Graysen Cameron: The 19-year-old forward from Olds, Alta., can’t play hockey again after suffering back injuries in the crash. He has become an assistant coach for the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs, a top-tier, triple-A hockey team in the Alberta Midget Hockey League.

Brayden Camrud: The 21-year-old forward from Saskatoon overcame a severe concussion, loss of feeling in one of his arms and neck issues. He has returned to play with the Broncos this season.

Kaleb Dahlgren: The 21-year-old forward from Saskatoon suffered a fractured skull, a puncture wound in his head, a brain injury and six broken vertebrae in his back and neck. He has committed to play for the Lions hockey team at York University in Toronto.

Bryce Fiske: The 21-year-old defenceman from La Ronge, Sask., is studying commerce and playing hockey for the Ridgebacks at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.

Morgan Gobeil: The 19-year-old defenceman from Humboldt, Sask., suffered a brain injury in the crash. His family said in a statement in September that he is recovering but would still be in hospital for a few more months.

Matthieu Gomercic: The 21-year-old forward from Winnipeg had minor injuries from the crash and has also joined the Ridgebacks at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. He is studying kinesiology.

Xavier LaBelle: The 19-year-old defenceman from Saskatoon suffered a fractured skull, a concussion, internal bleeding and 20 broken bones in the crash. He has joined the Saskatoon Blades, his hometown Western Hockey League team, as an assistant to the coaches.

Layne Matechuk: The 18-year-old defenceman from Colonsay, Sask., suffered a brain injury in the crash. He was in a coma for a month and had to learn to walk again, but has since left the hospital. His family says he is on the road to recovery.

Derek Patter: The 20-year-old forward from Edmonton has returned to play with the Broncos this season.

Nick Shumlanski: The 21-year-old forward from Tisdale, Sask., walked away from the crash with minor injuries and is playing hockey for the University of Prince Edward Island Panthers in Charlottetown, P.E.I.

Tyler Smith: The 20-year-old forward from Leduc, Alta., had a broken collarbone, a broken shoulder blade and nerve damage down his left arm. He returned to play with the Broncos for about a month in the fall, but has since decided to step away from the team so he can continue his recovery at home.

Ryan Straschnitzki: The 19-year-old defenceman from Airdrie, Alta., was paralyzed from the chest down in the crash and continues his recovery with his family. Straschnitzki played in an exhibition sledge hockey charity game in Calgary in September and is hoping to eventually represent Canada at the Winter Olympics.

Jacob Wassermann: The 19-year-old goalie from Humboldt, Sask. was paralyzed from the naval down. His dad said in November that he has started to have movement in his hips and his glute. He has also turned to sledge hockey to keep his on-ice dream alive.

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