A flag waves outside a home in honour of the victims of the April 6, 2018 bus crash that took the lives of 16 and injured 13, in Humboldt, Sask., Sunday, March 24, 2019. (Matt Smith/The Canadian Press)

ONE YEAR LATER: Memorial service held for those killed in Humboldt Broncos crash

The crash struck a chord with hockey-loving Canadians and moved people around the world

A memorial service held Saturday to mark one year since the Humboldt Broncos tragedy was to include a moment of silence at 4:50 p.m. — the exact time of the deadly crash.

Sixteen people were killed and 13 were injured after the Saskatchewan hockey team’s bus collided with a semi driven by a novice trucker who had blown a stop sign at a rural intersection.

The crash struck a chord with hockey-loving Canadians and moved people around the world to put hockey sticks on their front porches in solidarity with the Humboldt community. More than $15 million was also donated from people in more than 80 countries for the victims’ families.

“These boys have had their year and they are in heaven or skating with Jesus, I guess,” said Karen Rafael, a first responder who helped at the horrific crash scene last April 6.

She returned to the crossing of Highways 35 and 335 on Saturday to pay her respects and wipe falling snow off pictures and mementoes left among wooden crosses.

A steady line of vehicles stopped at the site, and many people wearing hockey jerseys got out to pray or lay flowers.

READ MORE: Families honour those who died in Broncos bus crash

Jeremy Collyer of Brandon, Man. arrived with a group of hockey parents before going to watch their children play a championship game in nearby Tisdale, Sask.

“It really hits home,” he said.

“We all have kids in hockey. And you know, it’s funny— you always hear you’re one big family. And it’s true.”

The memorial service was being held at the Humboldt arena, where rows of yellow banners hang above the main entrance with the names of all 29 people who were on the bus that day.

Premier Scott Moe said he was attending the service with his wife, and a spokeswoman from the Prime Minister’s Office said a video message would be played from Justin Trudeau.

In a statement Saturday, Trudeau thanked first responders for their courage and professionalism in the aftermath of the crash, while praising Humboldt for its resilience.

“When we think of Humboldt, we cannot forget pictures of the wreckage — but what will stay in our hearts forever are images of compassion and strength: players clasping hands, united, in the hospital ward; young men learning to stand, walk, and take to the ice again; hockey sticks leaned up against thousands of Canadian front doors,” the prime minister said.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer on Saturday also noted the strength of the community and the outpouring of support from across the country.

“As a parent and a Saskatchewanian, I still find myself without adequate words to capture how this tragedy has been felt by our province, and our nation,” he said in a statement. “A year may have dulled the sharpness of the pain, but no passage of time can change the depth of our sorrow.”

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary was sentenced last month to eight years for dangerous driving causing death and bodily injury. Court heard he was an inexperienced driver travelling for the first time in the area.

The three prairie provinces have since made training mandatory for commercial truck drivers and an entry-level national training standard is to be in place next year.

Trudeau also noted in his statement that the federal government plans to make it mandatory, as of September 2020, for all new medium and large highway buses to have seatbelts for passengers.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

It’s here: tackling opioid addiction in Ladysmith

Nine overdose deaths in two years “pretty alarming considering this is a small town”

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Spending support helps keep Chemainus Rotary auction going strong

Event a labour of love for club members to generate funds for the community

Robert Barron column: Break-ins violate more than your property

My home has been broken into twice in the decade that I have lived there.

Switchbacks ease Holland Creek trail climb

New path section near the footbridge makes the link to Heart Lake more accessible

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Man airlifted to hospital after apparent hunting incident in East Kootenay

The man was in stable condition when he was flown out of Fairmont Hot Springs to a Calgary hospital

Most Read