Hockey World Mourns Tragic Bus Accident

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Members of the Humboldt Broncos, a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team, are pictured in the locker room on March 24, 2018, after their playoff win over the Melfort Mustangs (@HumboldtBroncos/Twitter/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

On April 6th the hockey world was shocked when the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team’s bus crashed with a semi-trailer truck near Armley Saskatchewan, Canada, killing 16 people and injuring 13. The victims included 10 players, two coaches, a statistician, a broadcaster, the bus driver, and an athletic therapist. The remaining passengers, 13 players, received injuries, most of them serious. The Broncos were on their way to play game five of their playoff series with the Nipawin Hawks when the accident happened.

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The team bus was travelling northbound on Highway 35. The semi-trailer was coming from the east on Highway 335. The semi had a stop sign and the bus did not. The force of the collision sent both vehicles into the northwest corner of the crossing. Visibility may have been an issue as the patch of trees partially blocks sightlines from the east and south. (CBC News)

The Broncos’ bus was moving north on Highway 35 with a speed limit of 100 km/h or 62 mph. At the same time, the semi-trailer truck was moving west on Highway 335 that has a red flashing light and stop sign; the light had been installed in 1997 due o a fatal accident currently remembered with six memorial crosses. The intersection had trees on the corner, which may have obstructed visibility.

The team bus hit the left side of the truck, sending everyone inside the bus flying and resulting in the team members and staff closest to the front of the bus to lose their lives. In hockey teams, traveling on the road follow unwritten rules. One of these is the seating order on the bus. The staff sits in the front, followed by the rookie or younger players, with the veteran or oldest players in the back of the bus. This unwritten rule is meant to show respect for the older, more experienced players. But in this tragedy, it meant that most of the players who lost their lives were the coaching staff and youngest players.

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The bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team collided with a truck en route to Nipawin, Sask., for a game Friday night, killing 15. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

This tragic accident shocked the whole hockey world. It brought hockey people in together to pay tribute to the fallen players and mourning families and teammates. The National Hockey League (NHL), Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) offered tributes to the fallen players. On April 7th the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks from the NHL wore the team name Broncos on their backs during the game to remember the victims. Also, the Nashville Predators played “O Canada” before their game against the Columbus Blue Jackets as a tribute to the victims, neither teams are based in Canada.

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Players from the Winnipeg Jets and the Chicago Blackhawks formed a circle at centre ice at Winnipeg’s Bell MTS Place before their game Saturday April 7, 2018, for a moment of silence to honour those killed in the fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash. (Shane Gibson/CBC)

 

Off the ice, the hockey world has come together to remember the victims of the crash. A GoFundMe website, created to raise funds for the families of the victims, has raised $15 million.

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The GoFundMe page raised more than $15 million and has recently stopped accepting donations.

On social media, people leave their sticks outside of their front door to remember the victims of the crash. This was originally started when the TSN radio and former Broncos broadcaster Brian Munz received a text message from a friend urging people to leave their sticks outside, stating “The boys might need them… wherever they are.” This movement is known in the social media as #PutYourSticksOut

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Photo: @usembassyottawa

Students and faculty families at Northwood have joined in the #PutYourSticksOut campaign, and hockey sticks resting near doors can be seen around the dorms.

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Hockey sticks outside a faculty apartment on Second East.

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