Canada junior hockey team involved in fatal bus crash

Sunday, 08 Apr, 2018

Humboldt Broncos President Kevin Garinger extended his deepest sympathies to the injured, the deceased, and their loved ones.

"We were a family", a former Broncos player, Daigon Elny, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

The team had been scheduled to play the Nipawin Hawks on Friday night.

The team was on its way to play in Game 5 of a semi-final against the Nipawin Hawks.

"The images and the injuries that I saw yesterday, really that's what they reminded me of, when there was an airstrike and a massive number of people would be coming in at the same time in frightful shape", said Masri, who has done work in war-torn Syria. "It's very, very bad".

The identities of the dead have not yet been released by officials.

In 1986, on a frigid and blustery late December day, a bus carrying the Swift Current Broncos junior hockey team hit a patch of black ice on a Saskatchewan stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway, killing four players.

Six players from this year's Humboldt Broncos roster had committed to playing for post-secondary schools next season. Tributes poured in online for father of two young sons who was described as an fantastic mentor to players.

Police had blocked off almost 2 miles (3 km) of the highway between Tisdale and Nipawin on Saturday. "I have never seen so many emergency vehicles in such a close proximity before", he said.

Calgary's team captain, Mark Giordano characterized it as "devastating" and admitted, "it really shakes you".

The crash prompted a wide display of grieving and support in Canada, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted his support for Humboldt, NPR reported.

"I can not imagine what these parents are going through", he wrote. "May God be with them all!"

The driver, who was the lone occupant of the tractor-trailer, was not injured in the collision, Zablocki said.

"Through all that, we became quite close, became good friends, we talked a lot". And to go that many years and nothing happens, and then you hear about (Friday) and your heart sinks, your stomach sinks. An online fundraising campaign set up for family members of the team had raised more than $260,000 Saturday morning.

"Stay Hockey family strong", wrote one donor on the GoFundMe site who said he was a coach from rural Saskatchewan.

The Broncos play in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, an under-20 youth league that regularly produces NHL players.

"There's connections everywhere it seems, it's a tight-knit family in hockey", said Chilman, who said she also knew the assistant coach of the team who was involved in the crash. "We've got the curling rink here, we've got the arena, we've got the convention center".