Fourteen killed, fourteen injured in bus crash
Tragedy struck western Canada early Saturday morning as a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team was hit by a semi-truck, killing fourteen and injuring fourteen more.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed the fatalities in a release Saturday morning. No names have been given as of yet, but the RCMP reported that three people are critically injured.
The accident sent shockwaves through western Canada as well as the hockey world. Parents and families across Western Canada have been rushing to the scene in Nipawin, Saskatchewan. The Broncos had been traveling to Game 5 of a semifinal in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League against the Nipawin Hawks.
Pastor Jordan Gadsby of the Apostolic Church in Nipawin told the Associated Press “Some of the families have gotten information and have gone to be with their kids. Some of them are waiting to hear if their kids are alive.” The church was opened to more than a hundred people awaiting word.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted “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.” Humboldt, Sasatchewan is a small city with a population of about 6,000.
In a statement Saturday, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman expressed his condolences. “Our thoughts are with the players, families, coaches, team management and all those throughout the community who have been affected by the tragedy involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team. The NHL mourns the passing of those who perished and offers strength and comfort to those injured while traveling to play and be part of a game they all love.”
Information is slow in coming for community members and the host families that housed some of the players while they played for Humboldt. The league, which includes players between the ages of 16 and 20, is an early part of the professional hockey development process.
The Broncos have been part of the SJHL since 1970. Six players from the Broncos have gone on to play in the NHL, including Bill McDougall, who played in 22 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 1993-94 season.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.