As details about the Humboldt Broncos team bus crash spread, people from across the country, the sports world and beyond Canada’s borders reached out in support and grief. The horrific crash in the evening of April 6 killed 15 people, including members of the junior hockey team on board, and injured 15 others.
Toronto Maple Leafs GM Mike Babcock, who grew up in Saskatoon, was emotional as he addressed the deadly crash during a news conference on Saturday.
Hockey teams and players from leagues across North America tweeted messages of support, many with the hashtag #prayersforhumboldt. The Toronto Blue Jays and Raptors also expressed their condolences on social media.
We are shocked and saddened over the tragic news of the accident involving the Humboldt Broncos.
— Hockey Canada (@HockeyCanada) April 7, 2018
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) April 7, 2018
#Oilers Entertainment Group extends its thoughts & prayers to the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos, their families & the Humboldt community this evening.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) April 7, 2018
Didn’t sleep. Waves of grief. Played against several of these boys on the national team. This is my province, these are our boys. What can we do? Well not much now but no reason we can’t raise a million. The families will all need it. Join me in donating. https://t.co/yGR9W1HXoU
— Hayley Wickenheiser (@wick_22) April 7, 2018
Humbolt Broncos…Victims, loved ones. We are reaching out to hold you. To share . In this moment all that ever happened doesn’t seem to matter. It did. It does.They do. You do. We love you.
— Ron MacLean (@RonMacLeanHTH) April 7, 2018
The Philadelphia Flyers held a moment of silence for the crash victims.
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 7, 2018
The Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets said they would be wearing “Broncos” on the back of their jerseys in place of their names during their Saturday night game.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) April 7, 2018
Canadiens defenceman Brett Lernout played 2 1/2 seasons in the WHL for the Swift Current Broncos, a team that was touched by tragedy when four players were killed in a bus crash in 1986.
The Winnipeg native said that accident still resonates in the community.
“It does. It does big time,” Lernout said. “They just put a memorial out there on the highway. It’s just terrible to see that happen again.”
FROM THE ARCHIVES: The 1986 Swift Current Broncos bus crash: Of tragedy and triumph
Leafs forward Patrick Marleau, who is from Aneroid, Sask., and is old enough to remember the Swift Current accident, said he expects people across the province to once again come together.
“Everywhere in Saskatchewan, it’s tight. Hockey’s everything in Canada, but in Saskatchewan every community’s fairly small, so everybody knows everybody and you try and look out for each other and take care of each other. Very tight-knit.”
We send condolence, comfort and strength to all affected by the devastating crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ team bus. pic.twitter.com/VScEay6sZv
— NHL (@NHL) April 7, 2018
Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy said the Humboldt bus crash made him think of the loss of four of his teammates in the Swift Current accident.
“Being in that sort of situation before, I just knew the state of shock and the confusion that comes along with this type of tragedy,” said Kennedy in a phone interview from Calgary on Saturday. “My thoughts are with the families, and the billet families, and the first responders, and anyone involved in the immediate response, because it’s just horrific and it’s really hard to explain.”
— Sheldon Kennedy (@ShelKenn) April 7, 2018
Provincial and federal leaders also spoke out, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement.
Words can not describe the loss that we feel tonight.
From a grieving province, thank you to first responders & medical professionals for courageous response under the most difficult circumstances imaginable.
I cannot imagine what these parents are going through, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy, in the Humboldt community and beyond. https://t.co/2cIn2CTy08
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) April 7, 2018
On behalf of Canada’s Conservatives, I offer my deepest condolences to the Humboldt Broncos organization, their family and friends, as well as all Saskatchewanians touched by this terrible tragedy: https://t.co/dE4PkV4Byl pic.twitter.com/3QR2ex5gsy
— Andrew Scheer (@AndrewScheer) April 7, 2018
Laureen and I are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic accident that took place in Saskatchewan. We extend our deepest condolences to the Humboldt Broncos organization; the families of those affected and the entire community are in our prayers during this very difficult time.
— Stephen Harper (@stephenharper) April 7, 2018
News of the tragedy also spread internationally, with Donald Trump tweeting that he called the Prime Minister to offer his condolences.
Just spoke to @JustinTrudeau to pay my highest respect and condolences to the families of the terrible Humboldt Team tragedy. May God be with them all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2018
Ellen DeGeneres also reached out to the community through Twitter.
My heart breaks this morning for the entire Humboldt Broncos community. I am sending so much love to everyone affected.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) April 7, 2018