On April 6th 2018, the hockey world was stunned by the tragedy that unfolded at the intersections of Highways 35 and 335 in Saskatchewan, Canada.
A semi-truck collided into a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team of the SJHL, who were on their way to a playoff game against the Nipawin Hawks in a must win game five, with the junior hockey team trailing 3 – 1 in their series.
Sixteen of those on board the bus tragically are no longer with us.
Ten out of the thirteen surviving members of SJHL team Humboldt Broncos will reunite at this weeks NHL awards in Las Vegas.
The Broncos were on their way to a playoff game against the Nipawin Hawks on April 6th of this year when their bus was struck by a semi truck. 16 on board sadly died, with 10 players, five staff and the driver.
Since the tragic accident the hockey community has rallied around Humboldt and the families of the team, a gofundme page was created which went on to raise over a staggering $15 million to help the families of players and staff who sadly passed, and to help the rehabilitation process of some of the players left with life defining injuries as a result of the crash.
The Broncos late Head coach Darcy Haugan is nominated at the NHL Awards for the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award.
This is the first time this many of the team have been able to gather in the same place, some players seeing each other for the first time since the crash.
““It’s the best thing ever. We all wish that we lived in the same neighbourhood. It’s pretty important to try and get together as much as we can just to heal.” forward Tyler Smith who’s been recovering at home in Leduc, Alberta said.
“I think just being together and sharing stories and kind of just being a team again is important.”
The memory of the news coming through, first reports and images of the crash and that tearful vigil may still be fresh in the minds of many, but seeing the team together just under 3 months from the crash offers hope for the future of the surviving remembers, and a chance to remember those who couldn’t be present in Las Vegas.
Tonight at the awards the team will be honoured, with Kaleb Dahlgren commenting on the nomination for his late coach saying “he was very inspirational to our team.”
Washington Capitals forward Chandler Stephenson, who is from Saskatoon is also bringing the Stanley Cup to the Humboldt community, other hockey players are also going to be in the community on the same day.
The NHL awards will also commemorate last Octobers shooting in Las Vegas, as well as the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida.
During a press conference on Tuesday night, two members of the Broncos were present who intend to play for the team next season. Derek Patter and Brayden Camrud both intend to return to the SJHL side.
Kaleb Dahlgren mentioned that the team are not in Las Vegas this week to represent the three members of the Broncos who are unable to be in town this week, but for 16 who are no longer with us.
I truly believe that from the moment you buy your first hockey ticket, or tune into your first game, you become something much greater than yourself. You become part of a global family of hockey lovers who are passionate about the sport they love, they care for each other and when everything feels like it might just be falling apart? They rally round and prove to you that you are never alone.