Saskatchewan

1st Humboldt Broncos team player released from hospital

One of the Humboldt Broncos players who survived last Friday's fatal bus crash in Saskatchewan has been released from the hospital.

Public vigil to be held at local arena, starting at 7 p.m. CST

Two RCMP officers lay flowers in memory of the victims at the site of the crash of a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team and team officials. (Olivia Stefanovich/CBC)

One of the Humboldt Broncos players who survived last Friday's fatal bus crash in Saskatchewan has been released from the hospital.

Nick Shumlanski, 20, was released from care Saturday, according to his father Myles.

The crash site was only a quarter of a mile from the family's home in Tisdale. 

A close friend of the family of another survivor, 20-year-old Matthieu Gomercic, called his survival a "miracle."

Another survivor, Ryan Straschnitzki, tweeted a photo of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visiting him in his Saskatoon hospital room Sunday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visit crash survivor Ryan Straschnitzki at his Saskatoon hospital bedside Sunday. (Ryan Straschnitzki/Twitter)

"We may not agree on politics," he wrote, "but we sure do agree on support. Sure am proud our prime minister and his son showing up and chatting hockey. Thank you very much."

Straschnitzki suffered a broken back, according to his father Tom. He said his son, who wasn't able to feel anything below his waist, was scheduled to undergo surgery Sunday.

Ryan Gobeil, the brother of crash survivor and Broncos player Morgan Gobeil, had his brother's heartbeat tattooed on his arm, as did three other supporters. 

Ryan Gobeil's brother Morgan Gobeil survived the crash. Ryan and three others had Morgan's heartbeat tattooed on their arms over the weekend. (Ryan Gobeil/Twitter)

Shirley Dool, the great aunt of crash survivor and Broncos centre Tyler Smith, said the 19 year old is on the road to recovery but remains in hospital where he's dealing with a punctured lung.

He's having trouble moving his hands, she added.

Fatal victims of crash identified

Broncos team president Kevin Garinger says the team is working with Saskatchewan health officials to release information about the medical status of the 13 other people who survived the bus crash. No names will be released, he said. 

The RCMP released the names of the 15 people who died from the crash. 

The players were:

  • Adam Herold, 16, Montmartre Sask.     
  • Conner Lukan, 21, Slave Lake, Alta.
  • Evan Thomas, 18, Saskatoon, Sask.
  • Jacob Leicht, 19, Humboldt, Sask.
  • Jaxon Joseph, 20, Edmonton, Alta.
  • Logan Boulet, 21, Lethbridge, Alta.
  • Logan Hunter, 18, St. Albert, Alta.
  • Logan Schatz, 20, Allan, Sask.
  • Stephen Wack, 21, St. Albert, Alta.
  • Parker Tobin, 18, Stony Plain, Alta.

The team personnel were:

  • Brody Hinz, 18, Humboldt, Sask.                
  • Darcy Haugan, 42, Humboldt, Sask.                
  • Glen Doerksen, 59, Carrot River, Sask.    
  • Mark Cross, 27, Strasbourg, Sask.            
  • Tyler Bieber, 29, Humboldt, Sask.

Vigil planned 

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe will join Trudeau during a vigil Sunday night at Humboldt's hockey arena to mourn and support victims of the crash.

A public vigil is taking place in Humboldt, Saskatchewan to mourn victims of a bus crash Friday that took 15 lives. 1:21:50
Early Friday evening, a bus taking the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team to a playoff game collided with a transport truck carrying peat moss on Highway 35, about 30 kilometres north of Tisdale, Sask.
People of all ages came to drop off gifts and notes for the Humboldt Broncos and their families. (CBC News)

Trudeau will attend to pay his respects and mourn the loss of the players and officials, his office said in a press release. 

GoFundMe raises millions

A GoFundMe page launched in the hours after the crash has raised $3.8 million for the players and families.

Garinger said the team will seek professionals to help deal with those proceeds.

"We don't plan to take that on ourselves," he said, but he emphasized that the priority will be the families.

On the night following the crash, 17-year-old student Tristen Lozinkski camped out there, along with six of her friends. Within hours, dozens of others had joined them.

People in Humboldt, Sask., attend Sunday church services as the community copes with the loss of 15 lives following Friday's horrific crash involving a hockey team bus 2:32

'Send thoughts and prayers'

Messages of support and condolences were sent from Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump.

"Can everyone please, just please, send your thoughts and prayers to the families and the victims and all the boys who are still in the hospital fighting. Please pray. The world is doing such a great job of helping," said Lozinkski. 

Canada's Governor General and former astronaut Julie Payette was the latest dignitary to extend her condolences Sunday.

"I know the pain of losing a teammate, having lived through the loss of the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2003," Payette said in a written statement. "I have never forgotten the pain, the immense sorrow and the sense of powerlessness one can feel at such a crushing loss.

"To face adversity, it is important to stay together and to find comfort, strength and courage in our communities and among our loved ones."

As the death toll reached 15 on on Saturday, Lozinkski said shock set in.

A photo of the SJHL All-Star team, which had members of the Humboldt Broncos on its roster. The RCMP has confirmed 15 fatalities and 14 injuries in a collision involving a junior hockey team's bus in Saskatchewan. (Submitted by Tom Straschnitzki)

"My first reaction was what is going to happen to the world if they're not in it? And now we have to find out," she said.

The team was on its way to Game 5 of a semifinal against the Nipawin Hawks.The RCMP confirmed the semi-trailer was travelling westbound on Highway 335 when it collided with the bus travelling northbound on Highway 35.

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) team includes 24 players, all from Western Canada, ranging in age from 16 to 21.

All games in the league are on hold for now and no decision has been made about the rest of the season, with league officials currently focused on the grieving process, a spokesperson for SJHL said Sunday afternoon. 

Garinger said the crash will not mark the end of the Humboldt Broncos and that the team will move forward.  

Gordon Lees's wife places a teddy bear at the make-shift memorial on the stairs of the community's arena where the Humboldt Broncos play. (CBC News/Alex Soloducha)

Lozinkski, who attended high school with several of the players in the community of around 6,000, plans to go to classes on Monday.

'We need to be together'

She said going back to school will be "horrific," but it's where she wants to be, along with her classmates.

Kevin Garinger is the president of the Humboldt Broncos, and he billeted Conner Lukan, one of the players who died in the crash. He speaks with the CBC’s Wendy Mesley from the Humboldt hockey arena in an emotional interview. 5:58

"We need to be together," she said. "But how do you sit in class when they're not there?"

Head coach Darcy Haugan was one of the victims, along with assistant coach Mark Cross, 27. Broncos captain Logan Schatz, 20, and teammates Adam Herold, 16, Logan Hunter, 18, Parker Tobin, 18, Jaxon Joseph, 20, Conner Lukan, 21, Evan Thomas, 18, Jacob Leicht, 19, and Stephen Wack, 21, were also killed. 

Tyler Bieber, a play-by-play announcer who worked with Humboldt radio station 107.5 Bolt FM and Brody Hinz, who compiled stats for the team, also died. Bus driver Glen Doerksen was confirmed to be among the dead on Sunday. 

According to RCMP, the male driver of the semi-trailer was not injured and, although he was detained temporarily after the collision, he has now been released.

No charges have been laid in connection with the incident. At last update, RCMP said they were investigating the conditions of the roads, vehicles and drivers.

Tragedy weighs on entire city

Humboldt resident Gordon Lees said he was in disbelief when he first heard news of the crash. He attended the team's inaugural game when he was just 10 years old and has been going to their games ever since.

He and his wife went on to billet a number of players and his daughter married a former Broncos player who played alongside some of the crash victims.

Lees said he's been thinking with a heavy heart about the parents of the victims. And while his family didn't have any billets this year, he said some in Humboldt lost three in the fatal accident.

"As a parent, it's absolutely without a doubt your worst nightmare to have to bury a child. So, to those I just can't even imagine, I can't even fathom what they're going through," Lees said. "Where do you even start and how do you put your life back together and move on?"

A woman mourns at a growing memorial for the victims of the crash. (CBC)

Lees described Humboldt as a small prairie town, where everybody knows everybody. Many people in their community stopped by the Uniplex, the arena where the Broncos played, on Saturday to lay flowers and stuffed animals, forming a makeshift memorial on the building's stairs.

"There isn't anybody in Humboldt who isn't affected by this in some way, shape or form, and some very directly," he said. "It's kind of hard to put into words really as to how you feel. You feel sorrow, you feel sad. It just rips your heart out."

The collection of flowers grew throughout the day. It will be moved to allow guests of the vigil to enter the arena. (Alex Soloducha/CBC News)

Lozinski was told her good friend who plays defence for the team had died in the crash. On Saturday morning, she found out there was a misidentification and he was still alive. She said he is recovering in hospital in Saskatoon along with another classmate.

"I literally thought he was dead. We all did. I don't even have words to explain it," she said.

Vigil all about family

Humboldt's city manager Joe Day said officials decided to open up the Uniplex to the public.

"I think, as part of the grieving process, it's important that the community and everyone who's supporting the community has an opportunity to come together," Day said.

Day said the mayor may say a few words, but no other speeches from politicians are on the agenda. He said the event will focus on the families.

"A lot of these families, they know each other through their sons so we want to give them this opportunity ... and as many safe spaces where they can congregate together and really grieve as a group," Day said.

"We've set up some spaces where they can meet more privately."

About 20 grief counsellors from around the province will be at the building to support people in need.

About the Author

Alex Soloducha is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan.

with files from Neill Fitzpatrick