In the aftermath of the terrible Saskatchewan bus crash that killed 15 players and coaches for the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team Friday night, Canada and the world is coming together in support of the victims’ families, communities and the 14 injured. A GoFundMe page dedicated to helping families affected by the tragedy has raised over $5.4 million in the two days since the event – the largest ever in Canada — and is still steadily rising.
The Broncos Junior A hockey team was traveling from Humboldt, SK to a playoff game in Nipawin, SK when their bus, carrying 29 passengers, collided with a tractor-trailer at a rural intersection. RCMP say it is too early for them to comment on the cause or details of the crash. Victims range from a 16-year-old player to the team’s head coach, assistant coach, play-by-play announcer and the bus driver. On Monday, the Saskatchewan department of Justice admitted that police had misidentified one of the players in the accident. Xavier Labelle, 18, was found to be alive and Parker Tobin, 18, was positively identified as a fatality; the teammates were mistaken for one another initially.
The Office of the Chief Coroner and the RCMP are releasing the names of those who lost their lives in the tragic bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos Junior A hockey team. RIP 🇨🇦 pic.twitter.com/BkIhuqogCa
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) April 8, 2018
Tributes have poured in for the team and their surrounding community over the subsequent days. NHL teams held moments of silence before commencing their games this weekend and substituted names for “Broncos” on the backs of their jerseys. Hockey players the world over are placing hockey sticks outside their homes in solidarity. Niagara Falls was lit up in green and gold in honour of the team’s colours. Celebrities and world leaders – including Queen Elizabeth — have spoken out and tweeted their condolences and support to the community and victims’ families.
Niagara Falls was illuminated in the colours of green and gold this evening, as a symbol of binational support for the residents of Humboldt, Saskatchewan as they deal with the pain and shock emanating from Friday's terrible crash. #HumboldtBroncos #HumboldtStrong #NiagaraFalls pic.twitter.com/lrFcH2FI8c
— Christine Hess (@christine_chess) April 9, 2018
To the entire Humboldt Broncos hockey community: We are here for you. As neighbours, as friends, and as Canadians, we grieve alongside you. Statement: https://t.co/jKloGgn5io
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 7, 2018
.@MStrooo6's game-worn hat honouring Humboldt will be available for auction until April 15th at 8 pm ET.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) April 9, 2018
We send condolence, comfort and strength to all affected by the devastating crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ team bus. pic.twitter.com/VScEay6sZv
— NHL (@NHL) April 7, 2018
— NHL (@NHL) April 8, 2018
My heart breaks this morning for the entire Humboldt Broncos community. I am sending so much love to everyone affected.💔
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 7, 2018
Janet and I have struggled all day with the horrific accident in Saskatchewan. We are so sad for the @HumboldtBroncos families and are praying for them.
— Wayne Gretzky (@WayneGretzky) April 8, 2018
— Gene Principe (@GenePrincipe) April 8, 2018
RCMP lay flowers at scene of Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team crash. pic.twitter.com/CgYnYSzqct
— Olivia Stefanovich (@CBCOlivia) April 8, 2018
— Kelly Chase (@Chasenpucks39) April 9, 2018
— Jason Homeniuk (@realdealhom10) April 9, 2018
A memorial service was held in Humboldt Sunday night and attended by over 3,000 people while thousands more across the country watched the broadcast. Justin Trudeau and Hockey Night in Canada icon Don Cherry were in attendance as well as Nick Shumlanski, the first of the injured Broncos to be released from the hospital.
“We are all Humboldt Broncos,” was the instantly iconic line from the evening. It was said by team president Kevin Garinger in his opening statement and the sentiment was reiterated throughout the ceremony.
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) April 9, 2018
In the wake of the tragedy, Canadians also did not forget the truck driver who was uninjured in the crash, but nonetheless deeply affected. A sympathetic post in support of the driver and his family has been circulating on social media.
— CJAY 92 (@CJAY92) April 9, 2018
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League announced Monday their plans for a players support program that will help the players and families affected by the tragedy.