It is a night Saskatchewan won’t forget for all the wrong reasons.
On Friday afternoon, a bus carrying the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League’s Humboldt Broncos was hit by a semi-trailer unit around 5 o’clock on Highway 35, about 30 kilometers north of Tisdale, near the junction of Highway 335.
Early Saturday morning, RCMP said 14 people were killed, and another 14 sent to hospital with injuries—three of those 14 are in critical condition. While the names of the 14 have not publicly been released, the sister of Broncos Head Coach Darcy Haugen says her brother was one who lost his life.
The team was en route to Nipawin for Game 5 of a semi-final series against the Hawks needing a victory as they trailed the best of 7 matchup 3-1.
Many from Humboldt had gone to Nipawin to watch the game only to learn what had happened. Those people gathered at the town’s Apostolic Church where they were met by Pastor Jordan Gatsby. He says all he could do was offer a shoulder and be there for those grieving.
“The worst thing was watching parents wait for information not knowing if their kids were injured, or stuck or not alive. “Gatsby said. ” You sit with them, and cry with them. You wish you could start the day over and do it differently, but we don’t do that. We look for tomorrow and the hope.”
Words can not describe the loss that we feel tonight.
From a grieving province, thank you to first responders & medical professionals for courageous response under the most difficult circumstances imaginable.
Tonight, we all must pray for these families.https://t.co/dEnhKMkDxJ
— Scott Moe (@PremierScottMoe) April 7, 2018
Meanwhile in Humboldt, shock has obviously gripped the community as people tried frantically through whatever means to get the news they were so desperately looking for.
The town’s mayor says a mobile crisis centre had been set up at the city’s Uniplex Convention Centre. Rob Muench said the centre had already started filling up with people, and that counsellors were being made available.
He adds the Broncos have a special relationship with people in the city.
“I grew up in this community, and I remember back in the early 70’s playing in the old arena and watching the team play then.” Muench said. “They mean a lot to us. They’ve always been a big part of this community. The young men on the teams are heroes to the kids here. The team is very well respected.”
Sending all my thoughts and prayers to those impacted with the @HumboltBroncos bus crash.
Pls don’t share any unconfirmed information. These kids families and friends
Are all searching for the correct info.#PrayersForHumboldt
— Sheldon Kennedy (@ShelKenn) April 7, 2018
Thoughts and prayers from the entire Regina Pats organization going out to the Humboldt Broncos.
— x – Regina Pats (@WHLPats) April 7, 2018