A truck drives by the welcome sign honouring the members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, Canada, Saturday, April 7, 2018. (Liam Richards/The Canadian Press via AP)

‘Heroes to many:’ Support offered to Humboldt students after bus crash kills 15

Classes resumed Tuesday but Garinger says the focus will be on the well-being of students and staff

Attention in the Saskatchewan town where 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team were killed in a bus crash is turning to supporting students as they return to school without some of their classmates.

Kevin Garinger, director of education for the Horizon School Division and president of the Broncos, said schools were closed Monday after the junior hockey team’s bus collided with a semi truck northeast of Saskatoon on Friday.

Classes resumed Tuesday but Garinger says the focus will be on the well-being of students and staff rather than the daily curriculum.

Five of the junior hockey players were students and three others were former students, he said. Some teachers and staff even billeted the players, he said.

“These were our kids,” Garinger said, choking back tears. “These athletes are and were heroes to many and, in them, our students see shining examples of the young adults and athletes they’re dreaming of growing up to be.”

He says a crisis response team is in place and counselling is being offered to anyone who needs it.

“In the days to come, our students will require a great deal of support and love to cope with this loss,” Garinger said. “None of us are alone.”

READ: Giants hockey chaplain helps community grieve after Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The school division will continually assess the needs of the community and shift the focus accordingly.

“We haven’t determined how long these supports will need to be here,” said Greg Chatlin, director of education for Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools. “I do anticipate that we will need to be present for quite some time.

“The gravity of the wounds varies from student to student. Some have lost a local hero. Some have lost a classmate, a friend, a neighbour, while closer still, some have lost a brother, a son or a father.”

READ: Cowichan Valley coaches reflect on Humboldt bus crash

The Broncos junior team was heading to Nipawin on Friday when the crash occurred at an intersection north of Tisdale, Sask. RCMP say 15 people died in the crash and 14 were injured.

As of Monday, two people had been released from hospital and, of the dozen that remained, four were listed in critical condition.

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice apologized Monday after authorities mixed up the identities of one of the deceased and one of the survivors in the crash.

The coroner’s office mistook the body of 18-year-old goalie Parker Tobin for that of Xavier Labelle. Labelle is injured but alive, and Tobin is among those who died. Both families have asked for privacy while they are “grieving together.”

Premier Scott Moe apologized for the mix-up Tuesday and said the province will take whatever recommendations come out of the various reviews and investigations taking place.

“I don’t know how you could ever prepare for something of this proportion, of this scope of this accident, the severity of this accident and I apologize unreservedly for what happened.”

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Vandals deface Aldergrove elementary school with racist slur, male genitalia

Langley School District confirms it has filed a report with the Langley RCMP

‘Our hands are tied’: Langley Good Times Cruise-In announces cancellation due to COVID-19

People are encouraged to donate to the chosen Langley charities online, said Cruise-In director

Langley Township lifts evacuation alert as flooding threat drops

People are still advised to avoid the Fraser River due to fast running water

Langley nurse wins yard makeover in contest for frontline workers

The free yardwork helped relieve some of the stress for a Willoughby nurse and mom

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Woman sexually assaulted, robbed near Surrey SkyTrain station: RCMP

Police say the incident happened July 10, just after 11 p.m. near King George SkyTrain station

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Once-in-a-lifetime comet photographed soaring over Abbotsford

Photographer Randy Small captures Comet NEOWISE in early-morning sky

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read