Vigil brings Humboldt community together; RCMP releases names

RCMP have released the names of those who died in Friday’s crash between a semi-trailer and the Humboldt Broncos team bus.

Broncos players who lost their lives are Adam Herold, 16, from Montmartre, Sask.; Connor Lukan, 21, from Slave Lake, Alta.; Evan Thomas, 18, from Saskatoon; Jacob Leicht, 19, from Humboldt; Jaxon Joseph, 20, from Edmonton; Logan Boulet, 21, from Lethbridge, Alta.; Logan Hunter, 18, from St. Albert, Alta.; Logan Schatz, 20, from Allan, Sask.; Stephen Wack, 21, from St. Albert, Alta.; and Xavier Labelle, 18, from Saskatoon.

Other victims were Broncos head coach Darcy Haugan, 42, from Humboldt; assistant coach Mark Cross, 27, from Strasbourg, Sask.; team statistician Brody Hinz, 18; 107.5 Bolt FM journalist Tyler Bieber, 29; and bus driver Glen Doerksen, 59, from Carrot River, Sask..

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Prayer vigil

The City of Humboldt and the Humboldt Broncos called a joint press conference this afternoon in preparation for tonight’s vigil.

Doors will open at 6 p.m., said Jennifer Brooks, the former comunications manager for the City of Humboldt who is assisting with media coordination. The vigil itself will begin at 7 p.m. at the Elgar Petersen Arena.

As of this afternoon’s press conference, details were still being finalized. However,  Brooks said that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe are expected to be among those attending.

Brooks said the families of some of the accident victims would be there as well.

“[We] ask that you maintain a respectful distance as people start arriving,” she said.

Brooks said organizers expect hundreds to attend tonight’s vigil, and asked that the public helps ensure that those entering the arena do so in a safe and orderly fashion.

Brooks also said that overflow venues will be set up at the Humboldt Curling Club, Humboldt Collegiate Institute and Humboldt Public School.

The vigil tonight is going to be the latest step for many in the community who are still reeling from the events of Friday, April 6.

Garinger said the step is an important one.

“We know that the way we’re going to work through this is by leaning on each other and supporting each other. That’s what we need to do.”

City of Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench echoed those sentiments, saying it is a chance for the community to take their grieving and healing one step further.

“It’s going to be an event that’s going to be for the community and for the team. We’re not going to have a whole lot of speeches or anything like that. It’s going to be clergy-led for our community. They’ve stepped up to the plate and they’re going to be doing some hymns and prayers.”

Broncos updates

Broncos president Kevin Garinger said at the press conference that no new information could be provided on the condition of injured players. However, he noted the City of Humboldt is working with Health Saskatchewan, hoping to provide updates.

Garinger said this is important not only for the community of Humboldt or the province of Saskatchewan, but for an entire nation looking for updates on the players.

“People care and our hope is we can provide a little glimpse into what they’re enduring and where we’re at with respect to those who we’re blessed to have with us still today.”

Garinger said the team would not provide any names of those injured in the collision.

While Garinger could not provide details on how the victims are doing, he said he was “extremely blessed” to be able to announce that one of the players has been released from hospital.

Two hours after the press conference the RCMP released the names of those who died in the crash.

Remembering the coach

Garinger was asked about Broncos head coach Darcy Haugan, and remembered the third-year bench boss as an incredible coach, incredible husband, incredible father, and incredible general manager.

“We had a very important and close relationship,” said Garinger, after taking a moment to collect himself.

Garinger said it was Haugan’s vision for the club that stood out to him, noting the head coach was more interested in developing quality people than he was in developing quality hockey players.

“That was Darcy’s belief, and through that process they would ultimately become great hockey players too, which was also the case.”

Garinger said Haugan’s vision resulted in an organization full of quality young men.

 “And he’s sadly missed by our entire organization.”

Looking to the future

Garinger said the team is currently working with families to support their needs.

Once those families have been taken care of, Garinger said they will be looking to the future.

“One of the things that I think is critical is that we move forward in honour of our players and entire organization, our families, our billet families, this entire community. We will be doing everything in our power to try and maintain the Humboldt Broncos.”

However, Garinger confirmed for the record that the Broncos season was over. He said the club is focusing on the future.

“There won’t be anything continuing this year,” he said. “What we’re looking toward is next year, this next hockey season, so what will transpire from now until then is really what we’re trying to focus on. What that will look like. But that is something that won’t be considered until we get through supporting the needs of our families.”

Garinger added that it is important for the team to continue, saying he knows all of the players personally, and he believes not a single one of them would want to see the Broncos disappear.

“So in honouring them and their families I think it’s important that we do everything in our power to be looking toward that future but right now our focus remains on them and supporting them the best way possible.”

The SJHL has not yet made an announcement about the rest of the playoff season.

Mayor’s reaction

The accident involving the Broncos is now nearly 48 hours old, but City of Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench said that, with names of the deceased coming out, it is becoming more difficult to cope with.

“Originally this was just a thing that we had some people killed. And now it’s turned … personal. It’s involved people and families."

GoFundMe update

Within hours of the terrible collision a GoFundMe page was set up to help raise funds for victims and their families.

The original target was $5,000 but as more and more donations came in the target grew.

As of 5:15 p.m. on Sunday, April 8, the total donated surpassed $4 million.

“We’re extremely grateful for the support because that support has led us to being able to engage our families and talk to our families and let them know that their whole country is behind them,” Garinger said at the press conference.

With such a staggering amount of money, he added, a lot of work will need to be done to distribute it.

Garinger said that vice-president Randy MacLean has a meeting scheduled for today to begin working through that process.

“We recognize that that’s an important aspect of what those funds need to be directed towards,” he said

“We plan to engage with professionals who can help us with some of that as well. We do not plan to try and take that on ourselves. It is much too important to this organization, to the people who have donated. We want to make sure that we do exactly the right thing to be able to support the families, the victims that are Humboldt Bronco family.”

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