'It’s always at the back of everybody’s minds': Two year anniversary of Humboldt Broncos’ bus crash
SASKATOON -- It’s been two years since one of the biggest sports tragedies in Canadian history, when the Humboldt Broncos’ bus collided with a semi-trailer unit on the way to a playoff game in northern Saskatchewan.
“I’m still putting the pieces back together,” said Kaleb Dahlgren, a crash survivor and former assistant captain with the Broncos. “Today’s a nice day in the healing process, and it’s nice to remember those that were lost and those affected by the accident.
“I think what we’ve tried to do here is get on with our everyday lives, but it’s always at the back of everybody’s minds,” said mayor of Humboldt Rob Muench. “I think it’s one of those things where as the anniversary approaches you start thinking more and more about it.”
Two years later, Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League president Bill Chow believes there is still a sense of “what if” surrounding the incident.
“We’re talking about a matter of a few seconds of that tragedy happening and not happening,” he said. “And unfortunately, it happened. I think a lot goes out to the families for what they’ve gone through, and are going to be going through.”
A public event at St. Augustine’s Church hall in Humboldt was planned, but those plans have been changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is now a tribute page (http://humboldt.ca/tribute/) on the City of Humboldt website, with pictures, videos, and a guest book for people to sign and leave their locations.
“Just to try and have something that people could focus on and in check in during the day,” said Muench.
“Part of that original event was to have the bell toll at 4:50 p.m., the time of the accident,” he said. “We’re going to have the bells toll, and then after that we’re going to invite everybody, from wherever they are in their community, to observe a minute of silence in recognition of all those that were lost.”
There are several things that people in Humboldt will be doing to pay tribute, from leaving a stick out on their porch to posting pictures in their windows.
“Some of the billet families have gotten together and they have a photographer that’s going to go around and take pictures of them on their front step during the day,” said Muench.
Dahlgren is part of a chat group made up of families of those who were directly affected by the tragedy as a way method of support and added there’s a simple way to offer support for those that need it.
“They can honestly just reach out to people via social media, that’s probably the easiest way to do it,” said Dahlgren. “I know everyone’s at home and it’s hard for them to meet up.”
Dahlgren now plays with the York University Lions men’s hockey team in Toronto and continues his work with his diabetes support group Dahlgren’s Diabeauties.
He also takes part in Heros Hockey, a program which teaches hockey to at risk youth.