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P.E.I. about Humboldt: ‘Shocking’, ‘devastating’, ‘nightmare’

A woman lays flowers at a memorial on the stairs leading into Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, 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
A woman lays flowers at a memorial on the stairs leading into Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team, 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 - The Canadian Press

Prince Edward Islander hockey community react to Humboldt Broncos bus crash

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. – “Shocking”, “devastating” and “a nightmare” are words being used by Prince Edward Islanders to describe the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
Humboldt’s team bus collided with a truck en route to a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game in Nipawin, Sask., on Friday. As of Sunday, 15 people on the bus were confirmed dead, and 14 more injured.
“There are not many words that can explain it,” said 18-year-old Summerside native Carson MacKinnon, who recently completed his third season with the Rimouski Oceanic of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). “Road trips in hockey are meant to be one of the best times of the hockey season.
“It’s very unfortunate, and it literally could have been any bus, any team. For that to happen and that many lives to be taken away, it’s very devastating. . . It’s crazy how, in a snap of a finger, your whole life can change.”
MacKinnon played his Grade 9 and 10 years at Notre Dame in Wilcox, Sask.
“I never had the opportunity to play with any of the guys (Humboldt players), but I did play against a handful of them,” said MacKinnon.
The Summerside Western Capitals were travelling to Edmundston, N.B., on Friday for Saturday night’s playoff game in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League).
“It’s shocking to say the least,” reacted Caps head coach Billy McGuigan. “It’s something, when I first heard about it, you were hoping the fatalities and the injuries were less than expected.
“Then you get word (Saturday) about the fatalities and injuries, and it’s absolutely devastating to the hockey community. It puts life in perspective in so many ways. It’s more than just hockey when these things happen.
“We were out in Humboldt in 2012 for the RBC Cup and their GM and coach Darcy (Haugan) is a prince of a man. The whole community of Humboldt is such a true Canadian hockey community. It’s very sad.”
When asked on Saturday afternoon how his players were dealing with the news, McGuigan responded: “A lot of the players right now are in shock. It’s something you take for granted when you are travelling. . .  you are going to get there and get home safe. This could happen to anyone at any time.”


 
Hockey Parents
John MacKinnon of Summerside provided a parents’ perspective.
“As a parent, it’s a nightmare,” he said. “Whether you are a parent involved in the situation, or a hockey mom or dad, it affects you. The messages you are seeing on social media right now across the country speaks volumes for the people that are affected by this. It’s a tragic, tragic situation.”
John and his wife Mona are the parents of Carson and Ryan MacKinnon. Ryan played four seasons in the QMJHL, the last two with the UPEI Panthers and is now with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League.
“Both my boys, when they play a hockey game, one of the first things they do is reach out to me after a game,” explained John. “We obviously talk about the game, and one of the closing comments of every conversation is, ‘Have a safe trip, or text me when you get to where you are going.’
“As a parent it’s always a worry. They travel a lot of miles by bus, and you are always concerned about weather. You don’t have to go far to have an accident, but you are always concerned about them arriving safely at their destination.
“You are very proud of your kids playing hockey at that level, but there is a risk involved.”
 
2003 RBC Cup
Kensington native and West Royalty resident Wilfred Banks recalled a brief association with the Broncos during the 2003 Canadian junior A hockey championship in Charlottetown.
Banks was a member of the host Charlottetown Abbies Booster Club. However, with the Abbies eliminated, Charlottetown super fan Wade (Conehead) Babineau decided to wear a jersey of the Camrose Kodiacs – the Broncos’ opponent in the championship game.
“So I went down to the Humboldt dressing room, and they knew who I was from previous games and they saw me around rink, and I said, ‘Boys, give me a jersey,’ and they said, ‘sure,’” said Banks. “They gave me a jersey, I cheered for them, we had a blast, we won (3-1). . . I was sitting in the stands watching the celebrations, and one of the players skated over and waved me down to the boards and said, ‘Come on the ice and get your picture taken.’
“So out I go in a Broncos’ jersey with my Hanson (Brothers) wig and glasses on getting my picture taken with the Broncos and RBC Cup at centre ice.”
Banks, a motor coach driver who drives teams regularly, has been following the news of the crash closely. He’s said the team’s bus driver is in his thoughts, adding, “Drivers form a special bond with their team, especially if they travel with them all the time.”

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