The Stanley Cup is in Humboldt, Sask., today, thanks to Saskatoon-born Washington Capitals player Chandler Stephenson. After what has been a very difficult year for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team and today marks a happy day following a devastating tragedy that is now a major part of the club's history.
The tragic collision between the Broncos’ bus and a semi-trailer back on April 6 claimed the lives of 16 players and staff on their way to a junior ‘A’ playoff game in Nipawin, Sask. Thirteen others were injured.
“Today is an exciting day because we have our athletes back who are going to be vying for the team, but then on the other side of it, we will never forget all 29 people who were aboard that bus,” former Humboldt Broncos president Kevin Garinger told CTV’s Your Morning.
As reported earlier this week, Garinger has decided to step down as president, saying he found himself “a little stretched out” with family, work and hockey commitments. He will remain on the board and will be present for today's events.
The NHL and NHLPA are hosting “Humboldt Hockey Day” on Friday, Aug. 24, to show support for the Broncos community and the incoming team. The event will celebrate the strength and resilience of the community which has worked so hard to support each other in the wake of the crash. It will also kick off the training camp of the team, who announced back in May that they would take part in the upcoming 2018-19 season despite the tragic event. Training camp is open to the public. There will be six scrimmages throughout the weekend before the camp roster is cut to 40 players by Sunday evening.
When the Capitals beat the Vegas Golden Knights to win the first championship of their history, Stephenson had promised a trip to Humboldt with the trophy in tow.
The Caps forward knows some members of of the team, as he once skated alongside two Broncos players, Kaleb Dahlgren and Brayden Camrud, who survived the team's bus crash.
Stephenson will be joined today by over 15 current and former NHLers, including others from Saskatchewan like Brayden Schenn and Scott Hartnell. There will be two street hockey rinks set up in the local curling arena for the crowd to enjoy, along with a Hockey Hall of Fame display, a Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame exhibit trailer, and interactive games for all for want to attend the event.
Let's wish them a wonderful day as the community comes together once again in support of the Broncos!
Photo Credit: Zuma Press