All of Canada cheering for Humboldt Broncos as they return to the ice: Trudeau - InfoNews

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All of Canada cheering for Humboldt Broncos as they return to the ice: Trudeau

Humboldt Broncos returning player Brayden Camrud and head coach Nathan Oystrick are seen during a team practice Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2018. Oystrick is adamant his door will always be open for Humboldt Broncos players to come and chat this season.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
September 12, 2018 - 1:30 PM

HUMBOLDT, Sask. - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says all of Canada will be cheering for the Humboldt Broncos tonight when the Saskatchewan junior hockey team plays their first game since a fatal bus crash.

Speaking at a Liberal caucus meeting in Saskatoon, Trudeau said the community of Humboldt suffered unimaginable shock, grief and trauma in April when the team's bus and a tractor-trailer collided at a rural intersection.

Sixteen people, including 10 players, were killed and 13 players were injured.

"Canadians everywhere were heartbroken and we mourned alongside the community," he told his caucus on Wednesday. "But in the wake of this tragedy, Humboldt has shown incredible resilience and strength.

"Canadians were quick to share their love, support, generosity and kindness in a moment when it was so desperately needed. So to the people of Humboldt, know that we are with you. Know that we will continue to support you as you heal."

The Broncos are to play their home opener tonight against the Nipawin Hawks — the same team the Broncos were supposed to face the night of the crash.

Trudeau said he's glad to see the Broncos back on the ice tonight and he wished them the very best.

"You have us and 37 million fans cheering you on," he said to applause.

Jamie Brockman, president of the Humboldt Broncos, said the team is grateful for all the support it has received from across Canada and the world. Tonight's game and tribute to last year's team is a turning point for many, he said Wednesday.

"We're going to find out what our new normal is after today," Brockman said. "Hockey is back in Humboldt. We are strong and we are going to survive and we are going to move forward."

The Broncos lost their coach, Darcy Haugan, in the crash. Brayden Camrud and Derek Patter are the only two survivors that are back playing with the junior A team this season.

The team's new coach, Nathan Oystrick, said he's focusing on his players and has spoken with every member at some point to let them know he is there for them.

"I'm an open guy," he said Tuesday. "If there is something that is bothering them, they can come and talk to me whenever they want."

Oystrick said he understands that hockey players don't always like talking to their coach.

That is why he has hired longtime friend and former teammate Mark Popovic as the team's director of personal development and leadership.

Oystrick and Popovic have known each other for 15 years and first met in 2006 while playing for the NHL Atlanta Thrashers's farm team. Popovic has talked to FBI agents about how to deal with trauma, Oystrick added.

The Broncos also have another familiar face returning. Pastor Sean Brandow, the team chaplain, said it wasn't a hard decision to come back.

"We want to just love these guys and care for them and be there to support them," he said.

Brandow arrived at the crash site shortly after it happened and spoke at a vigil two days later. He also spoke at the funerals of some of the players.

"They've gone through hurt last year … some of these guys lost friends last year and the year before," he said. "So guys are dealing with things and will continue to deal with things."

He said he still doesn't understand why the crash happened but it hasn't shaken his faith.

"My faith has not been destroyed by this, in fact it's probably been strengthened."

— Follow @RyanBMcKenna on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2018
The Canadian Press

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