Tragedy Strikes Saskatchewan
On April 6, 2018, at 5 p.m. tragedy struck a small rural town in Saskatchewan, Canada. The bus carrying the entire Humboldt Broncos junior league hockey team, along with their coaches and other administers, collided with a truck. Fifteen people lost their lives and fourteen were injured, three of which were in critical condition.
The team was traveling to Nipawin, Saskatchewan, to play game five of the playoff series against the Nipawin Hawks. Now four days following this horrible tragedy, families of the deceased and the remaining team members are honoring their sons and brothers they lost.
Honoring The Broncos
The cars of the deceased still parked in the exact spots they were before the coaches and the boys got on the bus. Flowers were placed on the windshield to honor them. One of the players in critical condition is Morgan Gobeil, his brother Ryan along with his soon-to-be sister in law Mallory, sister Sarah, and friend Drew Thiemann chose to honor him with a tattoo. The tattoo depicted Morgan’s heartbeat on their arms. Right after they finished with their tattoos, they drove straight back to the hospital to continue to support Morgan in his long recovery, along with the other players as well.
To respect the victims, the statuses of their injuries remain private. Twelve players are still currently in the hospital, Jacob Wasserman among the four of which are still in critical condition. The Gobeil family weren’t the only ones who chose to memorize this tragedy on their skin, the tattoo shop Rites of Passage Tattoo in Saskatchewan has had an overflow of customers with similar tattoo ideas. The manager recently stated a couple was coming in this coming with to get Broncos jersey tattoos.
Colton Halvorson, 20, Daigon Elmy, 19, Austin Hilts, 18 all have tattoos of their teammate’s names and numbers. Elmy and Hilts have them on their backs, while Halvorson has his on his wrist. Elmy and Hilts chose to honor the deceased Jacob Leicht, which an image of his jersey #11, along with a heart monitor for Gobeil in the background. To signify that he is still fighting for his life.
Broncos player Ryan Straschnitzki, only 24 hours after hearing he would never walk again is already taking steps to get back on the ice. He’s truly inspiring, never once for a minute did he ever show an ounce of defeat. In fact, he actually considered himself lucky, Ryan looked at his mother and father and said: “Well, I’m going to get onto the Olympic sled hockey team.” That’s the Broncos spirt, Ryan’s forging ahead in the face of tragedy. I can’t wait to one day see him on Canada’s Paralympic team.
The Humboldt Broncos live by the motto created by Philadelphia Flyers coach Fred Shero. During game four of the 1974 Stanley Cup finals, he wrote on the team’s blackboard “Win today and we walk together forever.” This is how the kids on the Broncos hockey team feel, they are walking with each player deceased or fighting for their lives. This hockey team is a brotherhood, hockey has allowed them to create an unbreakable bond. These kids have given their blood, sweat, and tears to this sport and became a family because of it.
In the wake of tragedy, the Broncos chose to rise and remain strong for their brothers still fighting and those who have passed. Prayers are the primary focus for the team right now, that and their unbreakable bond is what will help Humboldt heal, but never forget what happened that night.
As a tribute to those lost in this tragic event, people everywhere are placing hockey sticks outside their door to honor the boys.