At least 14 killed in bus crash involving Canadian junior hockey team

Posted at 3:13 PM, Apr 07, 2018

A bus carrying a junior hockey team and a tractor-trailer collided Friday night in western Canada’s Saskatchewan province, killing 14 people and injuring 14 others, authorities said.

Members of the Humboldt Broncos were inside the bus and headed to the town of Nipawin for a playoff game when the crash happened north of Tisdale.

Three of the 14 injured people were in critical condition, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said. Authorities have not identified the victims and would not confirm whether they were players, coaches or the driver of the truck. Twenty-eight people were on the bus.

Humboldt, a town of about 6,000, has a long tradition of fielding teams in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The Broncos, like other teams in the league, attract players from different parts of Canada who stay with host families during the hockey season, the team’s website said.

Humboldt players range in age from 16 to 21, according to an online team roster. Thirteen of the 24 players listed on the roster come from Saskatchewan, with two from Humboldt. Most of the others list their hometowns as being in the province of Alberta.

“Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the families of our staff and athletes as well as to all who have been impacted by this horrible tragedy,” Kevin Garinger, the team’s president, said in a statement. “Our Broncos family is in shock as we try to come to grips with our incredible loss.”

In Humboldt, people showed up at the Elgar Petersen Arena to offer support, according to CNN partner CBC. Daigon Elny, a member of last year’s team, told CBC, “We were a family. You come to the rink … what’s better than that?

“Now I don’t know what goes on now.”

A gathering place also was established for families at Nipawin Apostolic Church so they can find out information on their loved ones, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench told CBC the whole town is grieving.

“It was horrifying,” he said. “It’s going to hit the community hard.”

The Humboldt team was scheduled to play the Nipawin Hawks in the fifth game of a best-of-seven semifinal playoff series Friday. The teams earlier played a lengthy game Wednesday that Nipawin won 6-5 in three overtimes in Humboldt, leaving Nipawin with a 3-1 series lead.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his condolences on Twitter to the victims of the crash.

“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,” Trudeau tweeted.

Notes of sympathy poured in on social media from the hockey world.

“We send condolence, comfort and strength to all affected by the devastating crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ team bus,” the National Hockey League tweeted.