Team bus crash kills 15 Jr. hockey players

HUMBOLDT SASK. — Every sports parent’s nightmare became a horrific reality Saturday evening in Saskatchewan. A bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos Jr. hockey team was involved in a deadly crash with a transport truck on their way to a playoff game.

The semi-trailer reportedly T-boned the passenger bus carrying the Humboldt Jr. Broncos about 18 miles north of Tisdale, Saskatchewan.

To date 15 players, coaches, staff and a Humboldt sports reporter died in the crash. Others remain in serious condition. The Broncos includes 24 players, all from Western Canada, ranging in age from 16 to 21. Head coach Darcy Haugan died with the members of his team.

There were 28 on board and no one escaped without injury, some of them remain in serious condition in hospital. A couple were released Sunday. To see the wreckage it is hard to believe anyone escaped with their lives.

The cause of the crash was not yet known, and the driver of the semi-trailer was not killed.

“This tragedy has hit a number of people, not just us, but I think everybody can relate to this experience,” said Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench. “Throughout Canada we see teams going out into the Canadian winters on buses all the time, and it’s always a thought in parents’ and fans’ minds about what can happen and unfortunately has happened here.”

The Broncos were travelling to Nipawin Sask. to face the Hawks for Game 5 of the SJHL semifinals. The driver of the semi was not injured and RCMP is trying to piece together the circumstances of what caused the collision. The bus was t-boned by the transport at an intersection. The semi-trailer was travelling westbound on Highway 335 when it collided with the bus travelling northbound on Highway 35, according to police.

News of the tragedy spread quickly throughout the sports community with condolences given to the city and the team from many circles including the NHL, MLB, and elsewhere who paid special tribute and condolence for the Broncos before several games.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “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.”

American President Donald Trump also sent a message of condolence saying, “Just spoke to @JustinTrudeau to pay my highest respect and condolences to the families of the terrible Humboldt Team tragedy. May God be with them all!”

Several other teammates were seriously injured including Ryan Straschnitzki suffered a broken back, according to his father Tom. He said his son, who wasn’t able to feel anything below his waist, was scheduled to undergo surgery Sunday.

A GoFundMe page to collect money for families affected by the crash had raised $1 million of its $2-million goal by 2 p.m. Saturday, 18 hours after it was created and is growing rapidly.

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