These aren’t the circumstances under which anyone wanted these boys to make it to the NHL Awards Show, but the surviving members of the Humboldt Broncos have been invited as honourees at Wednesday night’s ceremony. It is the first time so many of them will be in the same place at the same time since the April 6 bus crash that killed 16 of their teammates, coaches and staff.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 19, 2018
Nine of the players had an emotional reunion at the Saskatoon airport Monday night and were later joined by a tenth teammate — Ryan Straschnitzki, who is undergoing rehabilitation in Philadelphia — in Las Vegas. These players are 10 of the 13 who survived the crash.
Tuesday evening, the young men mingled with NHL players and made a special point of meeting fellow Canadians P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid. McDavid was one of the NHLers who made the trip to Saskatchewan to visit the Broncos in the hospital immediately following the tragedy.
In a press conference, the players discussed their bittersweet reunion and expressed hope for their futures. They all seem to have plans to return to hockey as soon as they are able and one Bronco, Jacob Wasserman, who is now wheelchair-bound, told the room he is planning on taking up sledge hockey.
“I can’t get out of hockey,” he said, “I’ve been in it my whole life and I’m looking forward to hopefully playing sledge hockey someday.”
— NHL (@NHL) June 20, 2018
The NHL has plans to honour the Broncos and all those affected by the tragedy Wednesday night and the team’s head coach, Darcy Haugan — who was killed in the crash — is nominated for the NHL’s Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award which recognizes an individual for positively impacting their community, culture or society through hockey.
The league also announced Tuesday that Washington Capitals player Chandler Stephenson and a group of NHLers will take the Stanley Cup to Humboldt on August 25 for an on-ice event in the city. Stephenson is originally from Saskatoon and knew some of the Bronco players who were in the accident.