One week has passed since the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash and one of the teams taking part in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) championship made a special stop at the scene of the tragedy on Friday afternoon.
The Estevan Bruins stopped at the Highway 35 intersection north of Tisdale to pay their respects to those who died and were injured in the crash. The Bruins made the stop on their way to Nipawin for Saturday’s series opener.
They’re the first SJHL club to take a bus trip since the crash. Players and coaches alike said they felt stopping at the site was an important step in the grieving process.
“The initial thoughts are just about the tragedy itself, the accident, the people involved, and when we started looking at the logistics of our trip, it was a no-brainer, we knew we had to stop and pay tribute,” said Chris Lewgood, the Bruins’ head coach and general manager.
The tragic collision between the Broncos’ passenger bus and a semi-trailer on April 6 took the lives of 16 people. Thirteen others were injured.
A makeshift memorial continues to grow at the site and the Bruins spent time reading messages of support and tributes to the victims.
“All the little things. You see Tim Hortons, like guys’ favourite Timbits or guys’ favourite coffees. They’re like little pre-game meals,” Bruins captain Jake Fletcher said.
“It just stands out how well people in the community, their billet families [and] their fans got to know these guys and you don’t really realize that until something this horrific happens.”
The battle for the Canalta Cup begins at 7:30 p.m. CT on Saturday in Nipawin. The opening game is expected to be another emotional night as the host Nipawin Hawks also plan on paying tribute to the victims of the crash in a special pregame ceremony.
The Bruins have similar plans for Game 3 in Estevan, which has already sold out.
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