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Leafs’ Babcock releases emotional statment on Humboldt Broncos tragedy

“I know that road pretty good…”, says the Saskatchewan native with tears in his eyes.

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In case you missed it, last night the hockey world was rocked by the news that 14 members of the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) died in a tragic bus accident on Highway 35 just outside of Nipawin, SK.

The hockey world is in mourning today for the loss of 14 young lives lost as a result of this terrible accident. Teams and players from across not only the NHL, but from across the entire hockey world have taken to social media to express their shock and dismay at the news, while also offering up sympathy and condolences:

Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, a Saskatchewan native himself, met with the media following this morning's practice to deliver a statement on last night's tragic events. While no video or audio of his statement been released, some members of the media took to social media to spread his message to the hockey community at large:

Tragic. There's no other word left to describe this development.

Update: TSN reporter Kristen Shilton shares the full statement delivered by an emotional Babcock earlier this morning. See below:

UPDATE: We now have video of Babcock's emotional statement. Click the link below to watch the full video:

For Babcock, a born and raised Saskatchewan boy, this news must hit even closer to home than it does for many of us. As Babcock says, he's driven that road many times. He KNOWS what it's like to be a young kid, riding the bus from game to game in rural Saskatchewan. In a different time and different place, it could have been him riding on that bus. 

As Babcock says, “you’ve got to embrace each and every day and each day you’re with your family you’ve got to enjoy it,” because you never know what can happen in a moment's notice. One minute those boys were with their best friends, heading down the highway to their next game. The next moment their entire lives and the lives of their friends and families are shattered. Tragic.

Leafs forward Tyler Bozak is also a Saskatchewan native and it's clear that the news hit him hard, as well.

Well said, Bozie.

For the 14 boys lost in this tragedy, you may be gone but you'll never be forgotten. The hockey world will continue to mourn the loss of the Humboldt Broncos forever. For the 14 individuals still recovering in hospital, please know that you're in our thoughts and prayers.