“The worst nightmare has happened.”
An emotional Bill Chow, president of the SJHL, addressed media Saturday afternoon at the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt. The press conference was in the wake of the tragic accident which killed 16 people on the Humboldt Broncos team bus Friday evening. The team was en route to Nipawin to play game five of the SJHL semi-finals against the Nipawin Hawks. 15 on the bus were taken to hospital in Saskatoon, with some in critical condition.
The RCMP have confirmed the accident occurred when a semi travelling west on Highway 335 collided with the bus, which was travelling north on Highway 35. The driver of the semi wasn’t harmed in the accident.
Among those who lost their lives in the tragic accident include Tyler Bieber, who was in his first year as the play by play commentator of the Humboldt Broncos. He was actively involved in the community, including coaching football and basketball. Bieber took a long way around to the broadcasting industry, and found himself not only handling the play by play broadcasts for the Broncos on Bolt FM but worked in the newsroom at the station as well.
Brody Hinz was a volunteer with the team, working as a statistician. He also worked at the Golden West radio station in Humboldt along with Tyler Bieber.
Humboldt Broncos therapist Dayna Brons, of Lake Lenore, died from her injuries Wednesday afternoon. She was 24 years old. Brons was surrounded by those she loved and those who loved her, according to a statement from the Saskatchewan Health Authority on behalf of her family. "Dayna will be forever remembered for her joyful smile, and her passion and love of sport," the statement says. Her family thanks the first responders, emergency staff, and all those who cared for her. They also thank everyone across Saskatchewan and Canada for their love and prayers.
Head coach Darcy Haugan, originally from Peace River, Alberta, was in his third season behind the bench in Humboldt. He left behind his wife Christina, and two young sons.
Mark Cross was the assistant coach of the Broncos. He was in his first year with Haugan behind the bench. He had played his junior hockey in Estevan and played at the CIS level at York University.
Montmartre’s Adam Herold was among those killed in the accident. The captain of the Regina Pat Canadians of the SMAAAHL, he was an affiliated player call-up for the playoffs with the Broncos. Herold played minor hockey in Weyburn and was the captain of the Pee Wee Young Fellow Wings in 2013-14.
Allan, Saskatchewan’s Logan Schatz had been captain of the team for two and a half seasons. The 20-year-old was in his fourth year with the team and was considered by many to be one of the best all-around players in the SJHL. His family confirmed Saturday morning he was killed in the accident as well.
Edmonton’s Jaxon Joseph was following in his father’s footsteps when he took the ice. His father was Chris Joseph, who played with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL. Joseph came to the Broncos in a trade in 2017.
Stephen Wack was a defenceman with the team, who stood out on the ice because of his size and ability. The towering blueliner came to Humboldt as a native of St. Albert, Alberta.
Conner Lukan was known for his speed on the ice. Hailing from Slave Lake, Alberta, he was often a linemate of Schatz’ at times in the season, and was a fiery competitor.
Logan Boulet was another defenceman known around the league for his skill. He is originally from Lethbridge, where he played his midget hockey, before coming to the SJHL.
Jacob Leicht grew up in Humboldt, and like many who do yearn for the chance to wear the green of the hometown Broncos. The forward wasn’t the biggest player on the ice but worked just as hard as the rest of the players in the league.
Saskatoon’s Evan Thomas is among those who passed away in the accident. The 18-year-old was in his first year with the Broncos, having played his midget hockey in Moose Jaw and Saskatoon.
Logan HunterHunter's death was confirmed by his former team, the St. Albert Raiders in his Alberta hometown. The organization's president, Kevin Porter, said he heard the news from Hunter's mother. "He always had a smile on his face," said Porter, who described Hunter as a "smart kid and a great hockey player" with a "great sense of humour."
Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice confirmed on Monday morning that Parker Tobin, one of the team’s goalies, is among the 16 victims. Tobin had been traded to the Broncos partway through the season. Ottawa Senators prospect Parker Kelly said on Twitter that Tobin was a “great teammate and friend.”
Glen Doerksen, 59, had been a driver with Charlie’s Charters since October. The father of two was a long-haul trucker for two years prior to taking a job with the bus company. “Glen was an outstanding friend, husband, and father. He will be truly missed,” the bus company said in a Facebook post.
The hockey community has reached out with an outpouring of support since the accident. A GoFundMe was established to support the team and the families of the organization.
A number of NHL teams are also stepping in, with proceeds from the 50/50 draws from the Winnipeg Jets and Edmonton Oilers pledged to go to the Broncos. Additionally, the Jets and Chicago Blackhawks, who played Saturday night, announced they would be wearing Broncos on their name bars in honour of the 16 who passed away. Each team was chipping in $25,000 to the game’s 50/50 draw, with the NHL contributing another $25,000.
Social media has been filled with condolences ranging from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, to U.S. President Donald Trump, to Hayley Wickenheiser, to Ellen Degeneres, numerous NHL teams and head coaches, and junior hockey teams from around the world. The team was honoured before a hockey game in Sweden with a moment of silence, and condolences are coming from many other teams, regardless of their sport, from around the world.
The Broncos held a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. The time coincides with what would have been puck drop for game six of their series with the Nipawin Hawks.