Victims in Canadian bus crash identified, as outpouring of support comes in from around the world
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — The Royal Canadian Mounted Police identified the 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos Junior A hockey team who died Friday when a tractor-trailer smashed into the team’s charter bus while it was traveling to compete in a playoff game.
Ten of the victims were Broncos players.
— Adam Herold, 16, from Montmartre, Saskatchewan
— Connor Lukan, 21, from Slave Lake, Alberta
— Evan Thomas, 18, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
— Jacob Leicht, 19, from Humboldt, Saskatchewan
— Jaxon Joseph, 20, from Edmonton, Alberta
— Logan Boulet, 21, from Lethbridge, Alberta
— Logan Hunter, 18, from St. Albert, Alberta
— Logan Schatz, 20, from Allan, Saskatchewan
— Stephen Wack, 21, from St. Albert, Alberta
— Xavier Labelle, 18, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan
The five remaining fatalities were identified as team personnel members.
— Brody Hinz, 18, from Humboldt, Saskatchewan
— Darcy Haugan, 42, from Humboldt, Saskatchewan
— Glen Doerksen, 59, from Carrot River, Saskatchewan
— Mark Cross, 27, from Strasbourg, Saskatchewan
— Tyler Bieber, 29, from Humboldt, Saskatchewan
The victims were on a charter bus Friday when it collided with a tractor-trailer on Highway 35 about 5 p.m., authorities said. In addition to those who died, 14 other passengers were injured.
Since Friday night, dignitaries from around the world have been sending condolences. On Saturday, President Trump tweeted that it was a “tragedy.”
Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, said they were “saddened” by the incident.
“Prince Philip and I were saddened to hear word of the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team,” she said in the statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost so much, with their families and with all Canadians who grieve with them at this difficult time.”
The comforting missive came after Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench also expressed his heartfelt remorse.
The focus has been on the tribute to the dead but also to keep around the clock bedside watch of the 13 surviving players and a trainer who were still in the hospital as of Sunday evening.
“The biggest thing we can ask for is the support of thoughts and prayers,” Kevin Garinger, president of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey club, said. “We will do everything in our power to support the Humboldt Broncos.”
As of Sunday evening, the fundraising for the hockey club had risen to more than $4 million. Some of the funding had come from National Hockey League clubs, including the Pittsburgh Penguins, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Chicago Blackhawks, Winnipeg Jets and Toronto Maple Leafs, all chipping in hundreds of thousands of donated dollars.
The largess humbled the hockey club’s president.
“When we’re looking at those numbers, those figures are staggering to us, but we will make sure the funds will be used to respect the families involved in this tragedy,” Garinger said.
Garinger also said the crash sealed the Broncos’ season; the team will put all of its focus on honoring the families and then start preparing for next season.
In the parking lot where the team members met to catch the chartered bus, flowers were placed under windshield wipers belonging to the cars still parked in their original spots.
Malcolm Eaton, who served as Humboldt’s mayor for a decade until last year, considers the Broncos to be family.
“The Broncos have always been the main feature of the activity that goes on here,” he said. “We’ve gotten to know these kids very well and they become part of your family.”
Eaton is still processing what happened.
“It’s been a real shock, it’s been numbing,” he said. “The news came out slowly.
“Each time there was a new report it was about the seriousness of this accident,” Eaton added. “It was all really hard.”
But he said the community has managed to forge a strong bond and the vigil on Sunday was a testament to that.
“It brings focus to our thoughts and prayers and hopefully a measure of all of us coming together as a voice of support to the players and their friends and the coaches — we’re all behind them.”
He said that he has been notified that support has been pouring in from all over the country and the United States but also as far eastern Europe.
“There were flowers and candles at the Canadian Embassy in Ukraine,” he said. “Pretty powerful.”
Meanwhile, a local company was pressing “WE ARE HUMBOLDT STRONG” T-shirts in the prideful team’s green and yellow colors.
Mike Yager said his shop has been “overwhelmed” with the outpouring of customers flocking to purchase the shirts for $25 apiece.
Yager is donating $20 from each sale to the victims’ families.
“Everybody seems to be feeling some kind of connection to Humboldt,” he said.
Yager, who was a Broncos board member at one time, remembered being onboard the team’s bus to play away games.
“I rode on the bus for some games,” he said. “Your heart jumps out to what those families are feeling.”
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