Nfld. & Labrador

Parker Tobin, Humboldt goalie with N.L. parents, declared dead after identification error

A mistake by the coroner's office in Saskatchewan has been corrected — Parker Tobin is dead, and his teammate, Xavier Labelle, is alive.

Tobin, 18, was thought to have survived the crash, mistake discovered 3 days later

Parker Tobin was traded to the Broncos earlier in the season and was putting up the best numbers of his young career. (Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League)

UPDATE: On April 9, the Office of the Chief Coroner in Saskatchewan reported that Parker Tobin, initially listed as one of the survivors, had been killed in the crash. Another player, Xavier Labelle, who had been reported killed, had in fact survived. The coroner's office said the two had been misidentified. 


A family from Newfoundland has been told their son is dead following the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, despite believing he was alive for three days.

Parker Tobin, 18, was thought to have survived the crash on Friday evening. His teammate, Xavier Labelle, was listed as one of the deceased.

But the Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice sent out a news release on Monday morning, announcing there had been a mistake.

"Our condolences go out to the family of Parker Tobin," the release said. "Unfortunately, Parker is one of the 15 that have lost their lives in this terrible tragedy."

Tobin, who had been traded to the team mid-season, has a mother from Heart's Content and a father from Bay Roberts.

His mother, Rhonda, tweeted about his condition after the crash on Friday.

CBC News had reported Tobin was seriously injured, but had survived. We did not have the correct information at the time.

On Sunday, a family friend said he had suffered "multiple fractures, multiple injuries."

It is still unclear how the mistake happened.

Parker Tobin was thought to be alive following the bus crash, but there was an identification mistake, according to the coroner's office. (Parker Tobin/Twitter)

Tragedy resonates in Newfoundland

In St. John's Monday, councillors at the regular weekly meeting wore green ribbons to honour the Broncos.

City hall and the convention centre will be lit up in that colour, and posters have been placed at city recreation facilities for people to sign their condolences.

At the Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay, five bantam teams came together this past weekend for the AAA Atlantic championship.

In the stands, their parents dipped in and out of conversations about other people's kids in Saskatchewan.

Fifteen sons, fathers and brothers with the Humboldt Broncos junior A hockey club. They were players, coaches, statisticians, broadcasters and drivers.

Bonnie Wood, left, and Laurie Culleton are hockey moms from Prince Edward Island who were in St. John's for the bantam AAA Atlantic championships. (Ryan Cooke/CBC)

Bleached blonde boys with bright futures, extinguished when their bus collided with a transport truck near Tisdale, Sask. Friday night. 

They are connected to Canadians all across the country by their love for a game.

"We're all hockey families," said Bonnie Wood, the mother of a player on a visiting team from Prince Edward Island. 

"We are all one big family."

Not far from anyone's mind

Wood and fellow hockey mom, Laurie Culleton, had just arrived at the rink for a Saturday morning game when they heard the news that had been developing as they slept at their nearby hotel.

"Our hearts are with the families," Culleton said. "Being hockey moms, it's just sad. It's devastating."

Glenn Furlong sat in the stands with his son, Brandon, and watched the action on Sunday afternoon.

The Humboldt Broncos were on their way to a playoff game when their bus collided with a transport truck, killing 15 people. (Amanda Brochu)

He's said goodbye to his son many times before as he boarded a bus with his hockey gear and went to rinks around Newfoundland and beyond. 

"We've gone on buses so many times and that's where so many great memories happen, friendships and all that," he said. 

Glenn Furlong, and his son Brandon, said they often use buses to get to games. (Ryan Cooke/CBC)

As a parent, the worst case scenario sometimes crossed his mind. But from now on, it will be inevitable.

"The next time [he leaves], yeah, I'll have to think about it and worry like I do," he said.

Stories of the lives and deaths of those killed have been accumulating since the crash, including that of 21-year-old Logan Boulet who was taken off life support and had his organs donated to save lives.

Around the province, there were several tributes to the players. 

Both teams at the opening game of the provincial senior hockey championships in Clarenville stood together at centre ice for a moment of silence, and there was a similar ceremony at the start of Game 2 of the National Basketball League of Canada's playoff series between the St. John's Edge and Windsor Express.

Thinking about the billets, teammates 

Newfoundland hockey player and instructor Andrew Pearcey couldn't help but think of the billet families and his former teammates when he heard the news.

Andrew Pearcey played junior hockey from 2002 to 2006. (Xtreme Hockey)

"It's really hit home for me, it still kind of gives me the chills thinking about it because when you play junior hockey, you're so close with all your teammates," he said from a rink in St. John's. 

Spending a couple hundred hours on a bus each year, Pearcey said you never think it will be anything but safe. 

"Most of the time when you're getting on, you're playing cards, you're watching a movie, or sleeping, you're not really paying attention to what's around you."

Families in junior hockey communities will open their homes to as many as three or four players for a season.

It still kind of gives me the chills.- Andrew Pearcey

Pearcey is more than a decade removed from his junior days, but remembers the bonds he built with the people who took him in.

"It becomes a family situation," he said. "I was their son. They were my parents for the year."

In Humboldt, at least one billet family has lost two of its players in the crash.

A memorial at the stairs that lead to Elgar Petersen Arena is shown in Humboldt, Sask., on Saturday, April 7, 2018. (Liam Richards/Canadian Press)

As her son's team took to the ice on Sunday, Bonnie Wood cheered for his success. In her mind, however, she was already thinking about the journey back home to Prince Edward Island.

"Those parents, we don't know how they feel, but as parents we know it just must be unbelievable."

With files from Meghan McCabe and Katie Breen

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