The Stanley Cup has arrived in the small Saskatchewan city that was devastated by a fatal junior hockey bus crash that killed 16 people.
Chandler Stephenson, a forward with the NHL champion Washington Capitals, promised to bring the Cup to Humboldt to recognize the community’s strength and resilience.
But first the Cup made a stop at the rural highway crossing where the Broncos team bus and a transport truck collided in April.
A tweet from Philip Pritchard, official keeper of the trophy, shows the Cup sitting in the middle of a makeshift memorial composed of hockey sticks, crosses, flowers and flags.
“While their Stanley Cup dreams went unfulfilled, we thought we’d bring Stanley to them. God Bless,” reads Pritchard’s tweet.
Some of the 13 survivors met privately with Stephenson this morning before the Cup was shown to the public.
Stephenson, originally from Saskatoon and wearing a green “Humboldt Strong” T-shirt, was escorted by the RCMP as he carried the Cup into Elgar Petersen Arena.
A selection of different games and activities along with a giant blowup Broncos jersey were on display outside the rink.
Stephenson is being joined by more than a dozen current and former professional players for Humboldt Hockey Day.
It was organized by the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association to celebrate the city of 6,000.
Two of Stephenson’s friends — Brayden Camrud and Kaleb Dahlgren — are among the survivors.
“The community deserves to have a good day,” Stephenson told The Associated Press. “We’re not trying to be saviours by any means, because nothing can replace a life. We’re just trying to make it as positive a day as we can and hopefully put some smiles and some laughs on some people’s faces.”
Ryan McKenna, The Canadian Press