Friday, 17 August, 2018

Canada: 14 dead after junior hockey team bus collides with truck

A bus carrying a Canadian hockey team in Saskatchewan has collided with a truck causing numerous fatalities. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said the accident took place Friday evening on Highway 35 about 19 miles north of Tisdale BREAKING NEWS: Multiple fatalities reported as bus carrying junior hockey team crashes into truck in Western Canada
Jean Garcia | 10 April, 2018, 15:07

Emotional tributes to members of a junior hockey team killed or injured in a bus crash in Canada have gained huge traction on social media.

"We can now confirm fourteen people have died as a result of this collision", The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a press release early Saturday.

"Our community is in utter shock and we are trying our best to comes to grips with this unimaginable tragedy", Broncos president Kevin Garinger said on Saturday morning. While most of the players were from elsewhere in western Canada, they were put up by families in the small town of Humboldt. RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said the tractor-trailer, traveling west on Highway 335, collided with the bus, which was traveling north on Highway 35.

Saskatchewan's Ministry of Justice said Monday one of the deceased in the crash that killed 15 people en route to a hockey playoff game was misidentified.

Bulldogs head coach John Gruden says the hockey community is a tight-knit group, he is not surprised by the outpouring of emotion and support.

Behind them, flowers ringed the team logo at center ice. Pictures of the dead and injured stood in front of the audience.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tweeted his condolences, saying: "I can not imagine what these parents are going through, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by this bad tragedy, in the Humboldt community and beyond".

Humboldt, a town of about 6,000, has a long tradition of fielding teams in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.

Pastor Jordan Gadsby at the Apostolic Church in Nipawin said more than a hundred people had gathered at the church - including parents and grandparents of the players who were on the bus. It said Labelle was actually one of the 14 injured when the team bus was hit by a semi-trailer truck Friday night.

Forwards Jacob Leicht, Logan Hunter and Conner Lukan and defensemen Stephen Wack, Adam Herold, Logan Boulet and Xavier Labelle were also among the dead, according to family members and others.

"My heart aches for the families of the deceased and the survivors", Pino, a father of four who's coached his son's house league and traveled with hockey teams for 14 years, told CNN.

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He said players become part of the community fabric, doing volunteer work or serving in restaurants.

"It's a terrible accident, my God, " said Darren Opp, president of the Nipawin Hawks hockey team.

"New information came to light last night that raised questions with the health care professionals", Wilby said, adding that the information was not related to dental records.

The Broncos were a close-knit team who dyed their hair blond for the playoffs.

Michelle Straschnitzki, who lives in Airdrie, Alberta, said her 18-year old son Ryan was transported to a hospital in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The home page of the team's website was replaced with a silhouette of a man praying beneath the Broncos' logo of a mustang.

"We're devastated", said Randolph MacLEAN, the hockey club's vice president.

There are 24 members of the Humboldt Broncos, with members of the team ranging in age from 16 to 21. "We have 29 lives that will never be the same".

"It's an energy that spreads through the town", he said.

That is especially true of Humboldt, a town of less than 6,000 people in Canada's Great Plains region. Police have not said whether or not the driver was impaired.

The team president said parents from across western Canada were struggling to cope with the tragedy and were rushing to the scene. The force of the crash sent both vehicles into the ditch at the northwest corner of the intersection. Twenty-nine people were on the bus.

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