’Waves of grief’: Condolences pour in after Humboldt crash

People from across the country, the sports world and beyond Canada’s borders reached out to Humboldt, Sask. in support and grief
Maclean's and The Canadian Press
HKO Sask Bus Crash 20180407
Humboldt mayor Rob Muench, in the Broncos jersey, along with other mourners lay down flower on the stairs that enter to Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, in Humboldt, Sask., on Saturday, April 7, 2018. RCMP say 14 people are dead and 14 people were injured Friday after a truck collided with a bus carrying a junior hockey team to a playoff game in northeastern Saskatchewan. Police say there were 28 people including the driver on board the Humboldt Broncos bus when the crash occurred at around 5 p.m. on Highway 35 north of Tisdale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards

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.

RELATED: ‘One of the darkest days in the history of Saskatchewan’ as 15 die in bus crash

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.

The Philadelphia Flyers held a moment of silence for the crash victims.

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.

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.”

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.”

Provincial and federal leaders also spoke out, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement.

News of the tragedy also spread internationally, with Donald Trump tweeting that he called the Prime Minister to offer his condolences.

Ellen DeGeneres also reached out to the community through Twitter.