Bathurst Mayor Stephen Brunet says a television movie struck the right balance between the tragedy of the 2008 van crash and the unity created by the championship-winning high school basketball team.
The Phantoms, a movie produced by Dream Street Pictures, aired on Sunday night on CBC Television and told the story of how the Bathurst High School basketball team brought the community together as it won the 2009 provincial basketball championship.
A year earlier, the northern city was hit by tragedy when a van carrying the basketball team home from a game in Moncton collided with a transport truck.
Seven players and the coach’s wife were killed in the accident.
Brunet said the movie reflected the tragedy of the van crash and showed how his community came together afterward.
"I liked some of the lines … one of the young fellas said, ‘I can't do anything about what happened but I can play ball,’" Brunet said.
"So you could read into that many things not only about playing basketball but carrying on and I said, ‘Well that's pretty good.’"
Some families of the victims of the crash objected to the film being made, saying they thought it would exploit the tragedy.
Brunet said he believes the movie will actually inspire people across the country.
"We all heal and deal with the grieving in different ways and hopefully with the way this was done that it would help some people move on a little bit," the mayor said.
Rick LeGuerrier, a producer of the movie, said last week the movie was intended to show "triumph in the face of adversity."
LeGuerrier said producers approached the project with sensitivity.