"It’s a great day to be a Bronco, gentlemen," - Darcy Haugan
The Humboldt Broncos bus crash occurred on April 6, 2018. The bus–truck collision near Armley, Saskatchewan, Canada, killed 16 people and injured 13. The bus, headed for Nipawin, was carrying members of the Humboldt Broncos, an ice hockey team that plays in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, as well as reporters.
The accident occurred when the passenger bus carrying the team collided with a tandem semi-trailer truck at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Armley in the Rural Municipality of Connaught, Saskatchewan, at approximately 5:00 p.m. local time (2300 UTC) The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), who are investigating the accident, have not confirmed any account of the incident. They have stated that the investigation will take some time.
The tandem truck was traveling westbound on Highway 335, while the bus was traveling northbound on Highway 35. At the intersection of the crash, traffic on highway 35 has the right of way and a 100 km/hr speed limit. Westbound traffic on highway 335 would approach a large stop sign with red warning light. Roads were clear on a sunny afternoon. Photos of the scene shown in a video released by Global News reveal the front of the bus was obliterated while the front of the truck was undamaged. The force of the impact caused both vehicles to come to rest off the highway in the northwest corner lying on their sides.
According to the RCMP, the bus carried twenty-nine individuals at the time of the accident, including the driver, with fourteen being killed initially and fifteen suffering injuries (three of them critically). One of the critically injured later died in hospital. While the RCMP stated they would not be releasing the names of the deceased until the families were notified, the family of Broncos head coach and general manager Darcy Haugan confirmed on Twitter that he was one of the 15 killed. Later that day, team captain Logan Schatz was also confirmed as deceased by his father. The bus driver, as well as two radio station employees, one of them also a statistician tabulating Broncos game data, died after the collision.
As part of the emergency response to the accident, STARS Air Ambulance dispatched three helicopters to assist with transporting victims. Several of the injured were taken to the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon, approximately 250 kilometres southwest of the accident. The dead included Haugan and one of his assistants, the bus driver, a sports broadcaster and a volunteer statistician both working for CHBO-FM, the team captain Schatz, and 9 other players. Three were critically injured. The truck driver was not injured but the semi-trailer's load of peat moss was strewn over the ground. The truck driver was detained by police, but was later released.
The team was traveling to Nipawin to play game five of their playoff series with the Nipawin Hawks when the accident occurred; the game was subsequently cancelled (the Hawks led the series 3–1).
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, several politicians from across the province and country expressed their condolences, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley. The President of the United States, Donald Trump, phoned Trudeau and subsequently tweeted to offer his condolences to the victims and their families. The Canadian royal family released a statement on April 8 offering condolences to the Broncos organization on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
The National Hockey League, Canadian Hockey League, and Canadian Junior Hockey League and many of their respective teams and players offered tributes to the Broncos team, as did the Saskatchewan Rush of the National Lacrosse League and the Saskatchewan Roughriders football team. During the Winnipeg Jets–Chicago Blackhawks game on April 7, players on both teams had the "Broncos" name in place of their regular name bars on the back of their jerseys and stood united in a circle at center ice during the national anthems. The Nashville Predators had "O Canada" played before their April 7 home game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, even though neither team was Canadian-based. Several teams added special decals to their helmets to honour the Broncos.
The Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League and several former players, including Sheldon Kennedy and Joe Sakic, who experienced a similar accident in 1986, expressed their condolences to the Humboldt Broncos organization, players, and families. A group of Swift Current bus crash survivors led by Kennedy headed to Humboldt to offer their support to the community and hockey team.
The day after the crash, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, the SJHL's counterpart in the neighbouring province of Manitoba, announced the postponement of its championship series out of respect for the SJHL and the Broncos. The champions of the two leagues were to play each other for the ANAVET Cup regional junior championship following the conclusion of their respective league playoffs.
A crowdfunding effort was launched within hours of the collision to support victims and their families, and raised $4 million by the next day.
Shortly after the accident, people began leaving their hockey sticks out on their front porches as tributes to the victims. The tribute, known by the social media hashtag #PutYourSticksOut, was started after TSN Radio and former Broncos broadcaster Brian Munz received a text message from a friend urging people to leave their hockey sticks out, stating "the boys might need them... wherever they are."
On the afternoon of April 11th a 16th victim succumbed to their injuries. Dayna Brons, the Broncos' athletic trainer passed away.
5 – Adam Herold, D (age 16, from Montmartre, Saskatchewan); youngest player
7 – Stephen Wack, D (age 21, from St. Albert, Alberta)
11 – Jacob Leicht, LW (age 18, from Humboldt, Saskatchewan)
12 – Conner Lukan, LW (age 21, from Slave Lake, Alberta)
13 – Jaxon Joseph, C (age 20, from Edmonton, Alberta); son of former NHL player Chris Joseph
17 – Evan Thomas, RW (age 18, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)
18 – Logan Hunter, RW (age 18, from St. Albert, Alberta)
20 – Logan Schatz, C (age 20, from Allan, Saskatchewan); team captain
27 –Logan Boulet, D (age 21, from Lethbridge, Alberta); was kept on mechanical ventilation following the accident, pending an organ donation
30 – Parker Tobin, G (age 18, from Stony Plain, Alberta); incorrectly reported as injured, confirmed deceased on April 9. Previously misidentified as Xavier Labelle.
Coaches and support staff
- Darcy Haugan (age 42, from Peace River, Alberta); general manager and head coach
- Mark Cross (age 27, from Strasbourg, Saskatchewan); assistant coach
- Tyler Bieber (age 29, from Humboldt, Saskatchewan); play-by-play radio announcer for 107.5 Bolt FM
- Brody Hinz (age 18, from Humboldt, Saskachewan); team's amateur statistician and 107.5 Bolt FM employee
- Glen Doerksen (age 59, from Carrot River, Saskatchewan); bus driver for Charlie's Charters and board member for the Carrot River Outback Thunder hockey team
- Dayna Brons (age 24, from Lake Lenore, Saskatchewan, the Broncos' athletic therapist 
- Ryan Straschnitzki (age 18, from Airdrie, Alberta) defenceman, paralyzed from the chest down
- Matthieu Gomercic (age 20, from Winnipeg) minor injuries
- Morgan Gobeil (age 17, from Humboldt) in ICU unit he would be the last player released from the hospital in February of 2019.
- Tyler Smith (age 19, from Leduc, Alberta) broken collarbone and shoulder blade with some vascular and nerve damage
- Derek Patter (age 19, from Edmonton) broken leg, returned to the Broncos for the 2018-19 season
- Graysen Cameron (age 18, from Olds, Alberta) returned to the Broncos for the 2018-19 season
- Kaleb Dahlgren (age 21, from Saskatoon) stable condition
- Xavier Labelle, D (age 18, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)
Treated and Released from Hospital
- Nicholas Shumlanski (age 20, Tisdale, Saskatchewan) several broken bones and a shoulder injury. Ironically, his parents live less than a half kilometre from the crash site and were among the first to arrive at the crash site.
Other Staff and players
- Chris Beaudry (Assistant Coach) unknown
- Brayden Camrud (age 19, from Saskatoon)
- Jacob Wassermann (age 17, from Humboldt) unknown
- Bryce Fiske (age 19, from La Ronge, Saskatchewan) unknown
- Layne Matechuk (age 17, from Colonsay) unknown
- Mitchell Girolami (age 17, from Humboldt) unknown
The 2018-19 season of the Canadian Junior Hockey League will begin on September 12th with the Broncos hosting the Nipawin Hawks at the Elgar Petersen Arena. Prior to the game a special tribute will be held in honour of those lost in the tragedy. Each of the CJHL's 133 members will raise a banner as part of the each team's opening night ceremonies. Including will be the raising of a banner in tribute to the 16 people lost.
The National Hockey League awarded Darcy Haugan the first ever Willie O'Ree Award at the NHL Awards presentation. The members of the team that were able to make it to the show were also acknowledged on stage during the show.
On August 24, 2018 the keeper of the Stanley Cup, Philip Pritchard visited the memorial at the site of the crash and placed the Stanley Cup in the middle of the makeshift memorial.
Criminal Charges and Lawsuits
On July 6, 2018 the driver of the truck, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu was arrested and held in custody pending a court appearance the week of July 8-14, 2018. He is being held on 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
Sidhu was formally charged on July 10, 2018. with those charges. He was released on $1,000 bail and several other conditions including surrender of his passport and not driving. The fathers Nicholas Shumlanski and Evan Thomas appeared at the hearing. He is due to reappear in court on August 21, 2018.
The parents of Adam Herold filed a law suit against the accused,the trucking company, and the manufacturer of the bus. Besides unspecified financial damages, it is written in part of the lawsuit it is requested that all buses carrying sports teams in Saskatchewan be equipped with seatbelts and other safety devices. In addition to requiring buses to have seatbelts, the lawsuit is also asking for court orders declaring the intersection unsafe and for semi drivers to pass strict safety tests before they can haul Super B trailers in Saskatchewan - the same type Sidhu was pulling. On January 8, 2019 Sidhu plead guilty to 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death, as well as 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm in a Saskatoon court. Sidhu stated 'I just want to plead guilty. I don't want you to plea bargain, I don't want a trial.' Mr. Sidhu advised me, 'I don't want to make things any worse. I can't make things any better, but I certainly won't want to make them worse by having a trial.'" Sentencing will begin Jan 28. Sidhu faces maximum sentences of 14 years for dangerous driving causing death and 10 years for dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
Sidhu was sentenced to 8 years in prison at his sentencing hearing on March 22, 2019. This was the longest dangerous driving sentence to date ever in Canada for an incident not involving alcohol.
Return to the ice
Shortly before the start of the season, new head coach, Nathan Oystrick announced that in honour of Logan Schatz, the previous team captain, and his leadership that he gave the team there would be no captain for the 2018-19 season; but, Brayden Camrud and Derek Patter were named two of the three alternate captains.
On September 12, 2018 the team opened the 2018-19 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season playing against the Nipawin Hawks in front of a capacity crowd of nearly 2,000 at the Elgar Petersen Arena, in an event that was televised commercial free across Canada by TSN and in the United States by the NHL Network. Updates were given on the status of the survivors of the crash including two players who were still in hospital. Two players (Brayden Camrud and Derek Patter) returned to the line-up that were on the bus that night. The final score was 2-1 in favor of Nipawin.
After the game, the team held a ceremony to retire the jersey numbers of all of the people that were on the bus that night. Banners were also included for the coaching and support staff.
- The Darcy Haugan Memorial North American Coach of the Year Award was established for the 2018-19 playing season. Nominees for the award are chosen each month with the winning nominee chosen in May.
- Broncos defenceman Logan Boulet was an organ donor and his organs were given to six receipients. Logan was inspired by a previous coach, Ric Suggitt who pased away on June 27, 2017 who also had his organs donated to six receipients. In honour of Boulet the Canadian Transplant Association established Green Shirt Day on April 7, 2019 to raise awareness of organ donation.
- Tyler Bieber who was the teams play-by-play announcer was honoured with a scholarship at Western Broadcasting College in Saskatoon.
- The Tyler Bieber & Brody Hinz Memorial Award was established for Humboldt Collegiate's best prepared athlete. Hinz was the team's statistician.
- One of the girls dressing rooms at the John Doherty Memorial Arena in Lake Lenore, Saskatchewan was named in honour of Dayna Brons. Brons was the team's physical therapist and a native of Lake Lenore.
- Allan, Saskatchewan renamed its' community arena to the Logan Schatz Memorial Arena in honour of the Broncos player who was from Allan.
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