A flag waves outside a home in honour of the victims of the April 6, 2018 bus crash that took the lives of 16 and injured 13, in Humboldt, Sask., Sunday, March 24, 2019. (Matt Smith/The Canadian Press)

ONE YEAR LATER: Memorial service held for those killed in Humboldt Broncos crash

The crash struck a chord with hockey-loving Canadians and moved people around the world

A memorial service held Saturday to mark one year since the Humboldt Broncos tragedy was to include a moment of silence at 4:50 p.m. — the exact time of the deadly crash.

Sixteen people were killed and 13 were injured after the Saskatchewan hockey team’s bus collided with a semi driven by a novice trucker who had blown a stop sign at a rural intersection.

The crash struck a chord with hockey-loving Canadians and moved people around the world to put hockey sticks on their front porches in solidarity with the Humboldt community. More than $15 million was also donated from people in more than 80 countries for the victims’ families.

“These boys have had their year and they are in heaven or skating with Jesus, I guess,” said Karen Rafael, a first responder who helped at the horrific crash scene last April 6.

She returned to the crossing of Highways 35 and 335 on Saturday to pay her respects and wipe falling snow off pictures and mementoes left among wooden crosses.

A steady line of vehicles stopped at the site, and many people wearing hockey jerseys got out to pray or lay flowers.

READ MORE: Families honour those who died in Broncos bus crash

Jeremy Collyer of Brandon, Man. arrived with a group of hockey parents before going to watch their children play a championship game in nearby Tisdale, Sask.

“It really hits home,” he said.

“We all have kids in hockey. And you know, it’s funny— you always hear you’re one big family. And it’s true.”

The memorial service was being held at the Humboldt arena, where rows of yellow banners hang above the main entrance with the names of all 29 people who were on the bus that day.

Premier Scott Moe said he was attending the service with his wife, and a spokeswoman from the Prime Minister’s Office said a video message would be played from Justin Trudeau.

In a statement Saturday, Trudeau thanked first responders for their courage and professionalism in the aftermath of the crash, while praising Humboldt for its resilience.

“When we think of Humboldt, we cannot forget pictures of the wreckage — but what will stay in our hearts forever are images of compassion and strength: players clasping hands, united, in the hospital ward; young men learning to stand, walk, and take to the ice again; hockey sticks leaned up against thousands of Canadian front doors,” the prime minister said.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer on Saturday also noted the strength of the community and the outpouring of support from across the country.

“As a parent and a Saskatchewanian, I still find myself without adequate words to capture how this tragedy has been felt by our province, and our nation,” he said in a statement. “A year may have dulled the sharpness of the pain, but no passage of time can change the depth of our sorrow.”

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary was sentenced last month to eight years for dangerous driving causing death and bodily injury. Court heard he was an inexperienced driver travelling for the first time in the area.

The three prairie provinces have since made training mandatory for commercial truck drivers and an entry-level national training standard is to be in place next year.

Trudeau also noted in his statement that the federal government plans to make it mandatory, as of September 2020, for all new medium and large highway buses to have seatbelts for passengers.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fisheries and oceans minister spends Earth Day in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Jonathan Wilkinson in riding to support candidate Michelle Corfield

Earth Day in Nanaimo celebrates the Earth and its inhabitants

Plant a tree, pet a wolf, and see grand opening of Georgia Greenway at Nanaimo Earth Day festival

Climate action can’t be a partisan issue, say Greens

Green Party of Canada celebrated Earth Day early in Nanaimo

Editorial: Climate change is a good reason to cast a vote

Different choices around climate action and inaction will be on the ballot in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Humboldt memorial hockey tournament will make its return in Nanaimo

Fundraising tournament set for Nanaimo North Town Centre parking lot on May 5

Climate action can’t be a partisan issue, say Greens

Green Party of Canada celebrated Earth Day early in Nanaimo

United Way opens grants to help charities tackle social issues

Charities north of the Malahat can apply for grants $2,000 to $20,000

Second earthquake in less than two hours strikes off Vancouver Island

The first earthquake happened at 1:27 p.m., the second at 2:44 p.m.

Man’s body found in popular Cowichan Valley hiking area

Police say death not suspicious after discovery in Stoney Hill area overlooking Saltspring Island

Anti-immigration party is on the ballot in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Opposing candidate says National Citizens Alliance’s participation ‘highly problematic’

Clippers optimistic as they put finishing touches on cup-hosting bid

Nanaimo’s junior A hockey club hopes to host RBC Cup nationals in 2020-21

PHOTOS: Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says ‘I do’ on Earth Day

May and John Kidder got married Monday morning in Victoria

Vancouver Island-based company provides glass alternatives to plastic straws

Enviro Glass Straws now producing more than 60,000 straws each year

Multiple sailing waits as BC Ferries deals with Easter Monday traffic

89 extra sailings had been added to the long weekend schedule

Most Read