FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — Flags are flying at half-staff in communities across the Peace Region this morning in a show of sympathy and solidarity with the victims of last Friday’s tragedy involving the Humboldt Broncos.
At around 5:00 p.m local time last Friday, a bus carrying 29 members of the Humboldt Broncos Junior hockey team was travelling northbound on Saskatchewan Highway 35 about 235 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon when it collided with a westbound semi-truck. Fifteen members of the team were killed in the crash, including 42-year-old Darcy Haugan, who was the former head coach of the NWJHL’s North Peace Navigators. Fourteen others were injured in the crash, the cause of which the RCMP says is still under investigation.
The City of Fort St. John has lowered all flags at City Hall and the Pomeroy Sport Centre to half-staff after Friday’s crash. Communications Coordinator Ryan Harvey said that the City will be honouring the team on Thursday, April 12th, by illuminating the Pomeroy Sport Centre in green and gold – the Broncos’ team colours – from Wednesday evening until Friday morning.
A group of hockey moms in Langley launched a campaign on Facebook to get residents to wear their hockey jerseys in a show of support for the victims of the tragedy. That campaign has since gone nation-wide, and both the City of Fort St. John and the District of Taylor have both shared the campaign on their respective Facebook pages.
The City of Dawson Creek has also lowered flags outside City Hall in their support of the Broncos. Mayor Dale Bumstead said that his community is still coming to grips with the loss, especially being connected to at least one of the victims.
“My two boys, when they first started we would always look for hockey schools in the Springtime we’d take them to,” said Bumstead. “One of the very first hockey schools we went to was one up in Peace River. It was put on by a couple guys from the Edmonton Oilers. My oldest son was involved there, he met a couple boys from Peace River at that hockey school. One of them was the coach that was killed, Darcy Haugan. It’s just a horrible, horrible time.”
As of 10:30 Monday morning, a GoFundMe campaign for the victims of Sunday’s crash has raised $5.4 million of its $4 million goal.