Mooseheads, Islanders pay respects to Saskatchewan team
15 killed, 14 injured in crash when Humboldt Broncos bus collided with transport truck Friday night
A moment of silence was held before Saturday night's hockey game between the Halifax Mooseheads and Charlottetown Islanders to remember the Saskatchewan hockey players killed and injured when their bus collided with a truck Friday night.
The bus was driving the Humboldt Broncos to a game at the time of the crash. The head coach of the team was among those who died. In addition to the 15 deaths, there were also 14 injured.
"We spend so much time on the road just as a team throughout the season. It's something that, you know, is the worst nightmare for a team to go through and our hearts go out to all the people that are involved because it's something that you just can't imagine," said Craig Foster, president of operations with the Charlottetown Islanders.
A moment of silence for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HumboldtBroncos?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#HumboldtBroncos</a> before tonight’s Mooseheads game. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoMooseGo?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoMooseGo</a> <a href="https://t.co/3ZtNNabe6Z">pic.twitter.com/3ZtNNabe6Z</a>—@mattyfax
'Hits really close to home'
After the announcement of the Mooseheads starring line up, the announcer at Halifax's Scotiabank Centre spoke about the crash and followed it up with a moment of silence.
Scott MacIntosh, manager of media relations and communications with the Halifax Mooseheads, said it is important for both teams to pay their respects. While Maritime teams are in a different league from the Humboldt team, the players are about the same age as QMJHL players.
"It hits really close to home. It's something that our players do throughout the season, riding a bus on winter roads long distances. It really puts hockey into perspective as well, and so our players are well aware of what happened ... I'm sure they'll be having those players in their hearts when they go out there on the ice tonight," he said.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PrayForHumboldt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PrayForHumboldt</a> <a href="https://t.co/NUNEXsplei">pic.twitter.com/NUNEXsplei</a>—@HFXMooseheads
The Humboldt Broncos team is part of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League — which is a member of the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) at the Junior A level.
Its regional equivalent, the Maritime Hockey League — put out a statement about the fatal crash on its website.
"The MHL offers its deepest condolences to the family and friends of those affected by this tragic accident. As proud members of the CJHL, our league stands with our hockey family in the SJHL and with the Broncos organization during this exceptionally difficult time," the statement read.
Will MacLaren, the league's director of communications, said a number of teams and individual players have expressed condolences on social media.
"You never can prepare for something as horrific as this but when it does happen it certainly makes a person pause and reflect," MacLaren said.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PrayersForHumboldt?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PrayersForHumboldt</a> we are all one big hockey family.—@MarinersHockey
MacLaren said teams are on buses every other weekend and sometimes there can be considerable distances to cover.
"The two teams in our league the furthest apart would be the Yarmouth Mariners and the Edmundston Blizzard who are ironically are still in the MHL playoffs and could conceivably face each other at some point — they're 1,000 kilometres apart," said MacLaren.
MacLaren said the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and the Maritime Hockey League have traded players in the past.
"Everybody knows everybody on some level in this game and certainly there are a number of players that would be at least familiar with people involved in the Saskatchewan league," he said.