Emergency workers were on scene late into the evening on Friday, after a team bus collided with a semi-trailer south of Nipawin, Sask. (Submitted by Kymber Rae Photography )
07 Apr 2018

Chock and sadness after Canadian hockey team's death crash

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Photo: Emergency workers were on scene late into the evening on Friday, after a team bus collided with a semi-trailer south of Nipawin, Sask. (Submitted by Kymber Rae Photography )

At least 14 people died when a passenger bus and a truck collided in the province of Saskatchewan in Canada, Canadian media reports.

On board the bus was a junior hockey team on their way to a game.

The RCMP confirmed 14 fatalities and 14 injuries in a collision involving a junior hockey team's bus in Saskatchewan on Friday, with rescue efforts ongoing late into the evening. 

Police say there were 28 people on the bus at the time of the crash, including the driver. Three of the injuries are critical in nature. RCMP would not confirm whether the deceased were players or coaches as they work with partner agencies to notify and support families. 

 

There are 24 members of the Humboldt Broncos, with members of the team ranging in age from 16 to 21. (Humboldt Broncos/Twitter)
There are 24 members of the Humboldt Broncos, with members of the team ranging in age from 16 to 21. (Humboldt Broncos/Twitter)

 

The Nipawin Hawks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League say the crash involved the team bus of the Humboldt Broncos, who were on their way to Nipawin for Game 5 of its SJHL semifinal series. The crash happened about 30 kilometres north of Tisdale, Sask.

"We are just in utter disbelief and shock at the loss that's fallen upon us". - Broncos president Kevin  Garinger

 

Derek Grayson and Nick bonding and healing in hospital
Derek Grayson and his friend Nick bonding and healing in hospital. Photo: Twitter

 

The Junior Hockey team Humboldt Broncos was on his way to Nipawin to play the semifinal in his series.

According to Canadian media, 28 people were on board the bus. 14 of them died and the others were taken to hospital. Three people are said to be critically injured.

"I cannot imagine what these parents are going through, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy, in the Humboldt community and beyond. " tweeted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

The Hawks had been scheduled to play the Broncos on Friday night, but said on Facebook shortly after 6 p.m. CST that the game was cancelled because of the crash.

"Our community is in utter shock and we are trying our best to comes to grips with this unimaginable tragedy," Broncos president Kevin Garinger said on Saturday morning.

Like others in the small community of nearly 6,000, he said he knew each of the young men and staff on the team personally, and had been billeting one of the players at his home. 

Small town
Humboldt is a small town with about 6,000 inhabitants. Garinger says in a statement on the club's site that it is an indescribable loss and a terrible tragedy.

"It's the deepest sorrow you can imagine," he told Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

Garinger is also the education manager for the school region, and knew everyone aboard the bus personally. One of the young people lived with him. The players in Humboldt Broncos are reported to be between 16 and 21 years old.


"Our organization will never be the same," he says.

Relatives gathered
In Humboldt, families, friends and supporters of the club gathered in the ice hockey hall when the causalities were to be announced.

- We are a family. What could be better than gathering at the hockey rink?  "said Daigon Elny, who played in the team last season, to the CBC.

Even in Nipawin, about a hundred relatives have gathered in a church, including parents.

- Many of them are waiting for information. Some families have got it and have gone to be with their children. Some are waiting to hear if their children are alive, says pastor Jordan Gadsby, to The Globe and Mail.