League takes pause after crash

The next step for the SJHL following the Humboldt Broncos’ deadly bus crash on April 6 is still uncertain.

SJHL team sources confirm that no decision on the fate of the league’s playoffs or personnel decisions has yet been made and no decision will be made before Wednesday.

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“We’re a little bit too early to make that decision. We’ll be meeting as a group, obviously the Humboldt Broncos, the league’s board of governors, and we’ll be making that decision,” said SJHL president Bill Chow in an interview with the Canadian Press.

“It makes no sense to assume anything,” he added.

The playoff series between the Broncos and the Nipawin Hawks has been postponed, awaiting a final decision from the league. Both clubs were slated to play game five of the series on April 6, with a sixth game scheduled for April 8 if needed.

The other league semifinal series between the Estevan Bruins and Battlefords North Stars finished with Estevan winning in five games.

Chow confirmed that both the Broncos and Hawks will both be involved in the decision, since both teams have representatives on the league’s board of governors.

The Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) also postponed its playoffs after the accident. The league will continue with its championship series, the Turnbull Cup Finals, on April 12. The Virden Oil Capitals lead the Steinbach Pistons 2-1 after one game, played the same night as the Broncos’ accident.

A championship series between the MJHL and SJHL champions, the Anavet Cup, was scheduled to begin on April 27, with the national RBC Cup slated to start in Chilliwack, BC on May 12. It is unclear if either championship will be postponed.

Humboldt Broncos team president Kevin Garinger said the team is not in a position to make short-term decisions with the team, but pledged that the club intends to ice a team for next season.

“We will persevere, and we will honour the souls that were lost,” said Garinger in a press conference on April 8.

Team officials with the Flin Flon Bombers have not yet discussed any future measures with the league.

“I think it’s really important that we’re respectful and we take the time to figure out where we go from here,” said Bombers head coach and general manager Mike Reagan.

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