Deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash chosen by Canadian media as News Story of the Year
53 of 129 newsroom leaders across Canada consider crash most compelling story of 2018: Canadian Press survey
A deadly bus crash that united a hockey-mad country in grief and spurred people to leave sticks on porches from coast to coast has been selected as Canada's News Story of the Year.
The Canadian Press annual survey of newsrooms across the country saw 53 out of 129 editors cast their votes for the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in rural Saskatchewan as the most compelling story of 2018.
The legalization of recreational cannabis in October came a close second with 51 votes.
"Although cannabis is landmark legislation, legalization arrived mostly with a shrug," said Murray Wood, provincial news director with Saskatchewan radio stations CJME and CKOM.
"No story affected Canadians in 2018 more than the Humboldt Broncos bus crash."
The junior hockey team was on its way to a playoff game when its bus and a semi-truck collided at a crossroads on April 6. Sixteen people were killed — another 13 were injured.
The crash made headlines around the world and struck a chord with hockey-loving Canadians, many of whom saw themselves and their children in the young players and their grieving families.
Some of the players were changing into suits and others were texting girlfriends as the Junior A team's bus headed to Nipawin for a matchup against the Hawks.
It was at an intersection just north of Tisdale where the bus and a truck carrying a load of peat moss collided.
Motorists who stopped to help, as well as some parents who were also on their way to the game, were met with a chaotic, gruesome scene.
Aerial pictures of the devastation are seared into the nation's memory.
Ten players, along with the team's coach, an assistant coach, trainer, radio play-by-play announcer, statistician and the bus driver were killed.
Of the injured, two players were paralyzed and two received serious brain injuries.
"The aching void of unrealized potential, the memorial services, and the fundraisers captured the interest of Canadians — in an event basically unmatched since Terry Fox's death in the middle of his Marathon of Hope almost 40 years ago," said Bill McGuire, editorial page editor of Charlottetown's Guardian newspaper.
Canadians and others around the world started leaving hockey sticks on their front porches to honour the team.
Many sticks are still standing outside.
The story continues to spark national conversations about mandatory seatbelts on buses, the legal proceedings of the man accused of dangerous driving causing death in the crash and the training requirements for semi-truck drivers in Canada.