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Saskatoon Blades hire former Humboldt Bronco Xavier Labelle in hockey operations
Xavier Labelle has been transferred to a rehabilitation centre in Saskatoon (Supplied)
Published Thursday, September 13, 2018 11:13AM CST
The Saskatoon Blades have hired Xavier Labelle as a hockey operations assistant.
Labelle, 18, has been undergoing rehabilitation in Saskatoon since he survived the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in April. He suffered a fractured skull, a concussion, internal bleeding, multiple broken bones (including 13 in his spine), and nerve damage to his legs and left arm.
“His parents were kind enough to let me come see him in the hospital just to show him our support and I told him we wanted to make him a Blade,” The Blades General Manager Colin Priestner said in a written release “At that time, we weren’t exactly certain in what capacity, but as the summer went on and he started to progress we discussed the different opportunities, where his comfort level was, and it became quite clear he wanted to remain involved in the hockey operations.”
Labelle spent the last two seasons with the Broncos, and attended the Blades training camp in 2014, 2015 and 2016. He graduated from high school in Saskatoon in June, and joined the hockey operations stuff before training camp in August.
“Colin came to see me when I was still in the hospital and asked me if I would be interested in helping out the team for the upcoming season,” Labelle said in a written release. “Of course I jumped at the opportunity. I thought it would be great to remain involved in the game. I never really thought about coaching but being here around the staff and seeing what goes into this side of a team, it’s definitely peaked my interest.”
Labelle is currently assisting the Blades coaching staff with reviewing game footage, but he is expected to take on more responsibilities as the season progresses.