Scattershooting . . . Drawing goes viral . . . Big League for Broncos . . . Vandekamp back in coaching game

Scattershooting

A drawing showing players from the Humboldt Broncos asking Jonathan Pitre to join them in a game of shinny has exploded on social media. If you haven’t seen it, it’s in the tweet below. . . . It is the work of Kerry MacGregor, whose father, Roy, writes for The Globe and Mail and whose essay on the Broncos’ tragedy was linked to here on Monday. . . . The father and daughter have been in the news this year because of the release of their children’s book The Ice Chips and the Magical Rink.


Logan Boulet, a defenceman who didn’t survive the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus on Friday, registered as an organ donor as he turned 21 on March 2. That story became most popular on social media when the information was made public by his family. But who was Logan Boulet? Dylan Purcell has the answer right here as he visits with folks who knew Boulet in his hometown of Lethbridge.



There are wordsmiths and there are wordsmiths . . . and then there is Charles P. Pierce. On Tuesday, SI.com posted a Pierce essay that is well worth your time. Yes, it’s about hockey and Humboldt and billet families and a whole lot more, and it’s all right here.


On that subject, here is Doug Johnson, the general manager and head coach of the Nipawin Hawks, talking to Postmedia’s Nick Faris:

“The people (who) are no longer with us were on that bus to play. They were on that bus to chase a dream and make it to the Canalta Cup final. If we don’t play, we do them a huge disservice. To me, the only way to truly honour Humboldt is to play.

“I think it’ll help our players with the grieving process. Will it be tough? Absolutely. Will sometimes it not make sense? Absolutely. But talking with people (who) have been through tragedies, to a person, they just say, ‘Get back and honour them through play. That’s what they would want.”

That conference call is scheduled for today (Wednesday).



Tom Cochrane, who really should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, paid a visit to TSN on Tuesday evening. Cochrane, the pride of Lynn Lake, Man., took the time to treat viewers to a special version of his hit song Big League.


Thank you so much to all who commented on the story I posted here earlier on Tuesday. I am thrilled that so many people read it, and were able to get something positive out of it.

I awoke Tuesday at 3 a.m., after having been asleep for about two hours. I was wide awake, but couldn’t figure out why. As I poked and prodded the depths of my mind, it came to me. Anyone who has written will understand when I suggest that I didn’t get much sleep for the rest of the night.

Again, thank you so much for the reaction. I would respond individually but this, I think, is better than cluttering up timelines.


And now for a couple of BCHL-related items . . .

Mike Vandekamp is back in the coaching game as the general manager and head coach Cowichanof the BCHL’s Cowichan Capitals.

Vandekamp was in his seventh season as the Nanaimo Clippers’ GM/head coach when he was fired by new owner Wes Mussio on Dec. 22. Mussio cited “irreconcilable differences” as the reason for the move.

With the Capitals, Vandekamp takes over from Brian Passmore, who will stay on in the area of hockey development, working, according to a news release, with the team’s U-16 program and other youth hockey initiatives.

This season, the Capitals finished 10-41-5, with two ties, and didn’t make the playoffs.

Meanwhile, in Trail, the Smoke Eaters, who are owned by Minnesota businessman Rich Murphy, have fired Cam Keith, their general manager and head coach, after a season in Trailwhich they went 32-21-4, with one tie, and reached the league’s final four for the first time since 2003.

In the second round of the playoffs, the Smokies won a seven-game series from the Penticton Vees, who had finished 17 points ahead of them in the Interior Division. Trail then lost the conference final in five games to the Wenatchee Wild.

Keith’s departure was announced via a one-paragraph, two-sentence, 46-word news release.

Jim Bailey of the Trail Times reported that Keith, who is from Nelson, “was conspicuously absent at the City of Trail ceremony that honoured the team Monday afternoon, and it was revealed later in a press release that Keith had been relieved of his duties that morning.”

Keith completed two seasons in Trail. In 2016-17, they finished 26-26-5, with one tie, good for third in the division.

 

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The boys grab some sticks and win a game

The boys played a hockey game last night. Yes, they shook off the rust and away they went.

They did pretty well, too, getting 37 saves from goaltender Parker Tobin in posting an 8-0 victory before a world-wide audience.

Tobin was making his first appearance with his new team, having been acquired from the junior A Humboldt Broncos in exchange for defenceman Xavier Labelle earlier in the day.

“We were fortunate we got a great performance from Tobin and our top scorers scored,” said general manager/head coach Darcy Haugan.

The boys were led by the line of Jaxon Joseph, Logan Schatz and Evan Thomas, who combined for 12 points, including six goals.

There was a scary moment early in the second period when Schatz appeared to catch an edge as he cut behind Tobin’s net. Schatz crumpled to the ice and for a moment it looked as though he had suffered a knee injury. Athletic therapist Dayna Brons, the only girl on the boys team, was quick to the scene. She helped Schatz to the dressing room and was able to get him back to the bench before too much time had elapsed.

“She’s got magic fingers and she’s great with tape,” said Schatz, who also is the team captain. “If there’s an MVP on this team, she’s it. I don’t know where we’d be without her.”

Haugan was thrilled when Schatz returned to the bench and Brons signalled that the captain was OK to go.

“That allowed us to keep our lines intact and to execute our game plan to a T,” Haugan said. “We wanted our power play to obviously be big. We didn’t expect it to be that big so we’re very fortunate. You need your top guys to be your best guys and they were.”

The boys counted five times on eight power-play opportunities and that really was huge.

Joseph finished with three goals and an assist, with Schatz chipping in two of each, and Thomas putting up a goal and three helpers.

Defenceman Adam Herold, the youngest player on the team, and forward Conner Lukan also scored. Lukan was skating alongside Jacob Leicht and Logan Hunter, and that threesome easily could have had four or five more goals. Hunter recorded two assists, with Leicht getting one. Defenceman Stephen Wack also had one assist.

As for the opposition, Haugan said, they “stepped up all night, they were relentless. Obviously our guys did a good job of keeping everything to the outside and didn’t allow them to penetrate to the middle of the ice. We did get a couple of breaks so we did get lucky but all-in-all to escape with a 1-0 lead after one, we’ll gladly take it.”

Defenceman Logan Boulet showed a lot of heart and leadership in earning six assists for the boys.

“I felt great out there,” Boulet said. “I was using a Brad McCrimmon model stick and, man, I really was able to throw some great saucer passes out there. And I don’t know that the stick had anything to do with it, but I never wanted to leave the ice.”

Haugan added: “(Boulet) was a beast out there.”

Ahh, yes, the sticks.

Haugan said one of the toughest tasks he and assistant coach Mark Cross faced was getting the players to pick out the sticks they wanted to use.

“I have never seen or heard of a team having such a wide selection to choose from,” Haugan said. “There were sticks everywhere. We may have to build some kind of stick warehouse to house them all.”

After the game, the boys admitted to being quite excited about having been able to replace one of their travelling staples.

“One of the boys picked up a copy of Slap Shot,” Haugan said. “He got it from somewhere in Portland, I think. You can’t be on the road without Reggie Dunlop and Slap Shot, but our original DVD got broken somehow and, let me tell you, there were some broken hearts when that happened.

“But all’s well that ends well.”

It’s worth pointing out that the boys led 1-0 after the first period, which was played in Chicago Stadium. They were up 4-0 after the second, which was played in Maple Leaf Gardens. The teams played the final period in the Montreal Forum. The travel arrangements were all under the control of Glen Doerksen, the team’s travelling secretary.

So . . . what’s next for the boys?

Well, Haugan said, the coaches are well aware that focusing on one sport isn’t the way to go.

“The guys are talking about wanting to play some baseball,” Haugan said. “Apparently, some guy in Iowa built a ball diamond in a cornfield. So I think we’re wanting to give that a try.

“But we’ll have to scrounge some bats, balls and gloves first.”

JUST NOTES: There was a third man behind the bench with Haugan and Cross and Haugan later revealed that he has added Brock Hirsche to his coaching staff. Hirsche played in the WHL with the Prince George Cougars, then returned to his hometown to play with the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns. . . .

Also joining the boys is Jonathan Pitre, who is incredibly popular with the media and will handle public and media relations. . . .

Tyler Bieber, an up-and-coming play-by-play voice, called last night’s game on 107.5 FM (aka The Prayer), with sports fanatic Brody Hinz handling the analysis and statistics, including zone entries and Corsi. . . .

Christopher Lee of the Humboldt Journal may recognize some of the quotes here. Thanks for loaning them to me.

Mondays With Murray: Great Expectations Nearing Fulfillment

SUNDAY, JUNE 6, 1993 SPORTS

Copyright 1993/THE TIMES MIRROR COMPANY

JIM MURRAY

Great Expectations Nearing Fulfillment

   When Bruce McNall traded for Wayne Gretzky in 1988, we all knew he wasn’t merely buying a hockey player, he was buying the Stanley Cup. It came attached to Gretzky. After all, he had won it four times for the Edmonton Oilers.

   And, when he didn’t win it, he was in it. The final, that is.

   No one in L.A. even knew what the Stanley Cup looked like. Or Gretzky, for that matter. All we ever saw of him was this guy skating around in a plastic helmet, waving a stick in mondaysmurray2the air after he had whipped in another goal against the Kings.

   He got 56 of them and 170 points in only 63 games against the Kings. He found them barely harder to get through than Kleenex.

   So, we hurried to the news conference when he was traded to get a fix on this new L.A. mega-star. I remember how startled we were at our first close-up at him. I don’t know what we pictured — your basic Canadian roughneck dripping tobacco juice, toothless, face stitched like a wall motto, parts of his ear missing. I guess. Something called “Boom Boom,” or “the Rocket,” or “the Gorilla.”

   Heck, this guy didn’t even look like Cowboy Flett. He had all his teeth, for cryin’ out loud! Didn’t have a stitch on him. He wasn’t big. He looked too frail to be a hockey player. Not a tattoo anywhere.

   He had this almost baby face, a nice smile, long blond hair. You would have figured him for a surfer if you’d run into him on the sand at Santa Monica. He could play the angel in a Christmas play.

   This was a guy who had scored the most goals, 92, in a single season? Who scored the most single-season points, 215? Who scored the most points in the history of the game?

   Our first thought was, those smart-alecks up in Canada had pulled a fast one. This couldn’t be the great Gretzky, this — this altar boy. This was a fax.

   But L.A. fans were patient. They told him to take all the time he’d need. Take a year, if necessary. We’d wait.

   Then, they sat back to see how he would do it. Unfortunately, his teammates did, too. Some of them should have paid to get in. They didn’t think Gretzky needed any help. All of them would have qualified for the Lady Byng Trophy, which they give in this league to the player who tries to kill the fewest opponents during the season.

   Everybody figured this was Wayne’s world. They stood around waiting for him to do it all. All they wanted to do was take the bows.

   The public kept waiting, too. Each day it kept expecting to pick up the paper and see where Gretzky had exploded for eight or 10 goals, had performed a double hat trick — after all, 49 times in his career he has had three or more goals in a game.

   But first you need the puck. The Kings could never seem to find it, get it to him.

   Gretzky handled it well, tried his best. No one brought it up specifically, but as year piled on to year, you could feel the unspoken parts of the postgame interview as Gretzky would patiently account for another disappointment.

   “Er, ah, Wayne. It’s about the Cup. Er, ah, the — ahem — Stanley Cup? Er, when can we expect that?”

   When it looked as if it would be never, along came 1993. It had not been a good season for Gretzky. All those years of getting hammered into the boards had paid off in a herniated disk. He never even got on the ice till the season was half over.

   But that was the bad news. The good news was that the Gretzky who came back was the old whirlwind, the center iceman with the uncanny knack for being where the puck was, who could find the open man in the crowd at Times Square on New Year’s Eve and get the puck to him at the precise moment the goalie was looking the other way.

   There was also the likelihood the team had learned to fend for itself in Gretzky’s absence. It had matured. The chemistry was there. Gretzky only ignited it.

   The Cup playoffs were like old times. There was Gretzky making a playoff game look like an ice show, skating around and through the opposition, pulling hat tricks, slapping in winning goals.

   Suddenly, the Holy Grail of hockey was right there for grabbing. The upstart Kings rolled through the Montreal Canadiens in the first game like the German army through Belgium. The only score the Canadiens had was kicked in by Gretzky.

   The Canadiens coach, a sly fellow, found a way out with one minute to play to win a game with a rule book instead of a puck when he invoked a hockey version of the corked bat to remove from the lineup a key player at the critical time. Hockey is the only game that does not play on a level field personnel-wise, and the hole in the lineup was fatal.

   But if anyone doubted Gretzky’s importance to his hockey team, Game 5 of the test matches would have overcome them. As these ice follies came to Los Angeles for the first time in history Saturday night with the whole town waiting to form up for a ticker-tape parade, the Kings suddenly developed a case of what is known in the theater as flop sweat. They kept, so to speak, blowing their lines, falling into the scenery.

   They fell behind, 3-0, and seemed to be looking around to see where to go to surrender.

   Gretzky wouldn’t let them. Suddenly, there he was behind the net with the puck. He spotted the open Luc Robitaille, flicked the puck to him for the score. The Kings were back in the game, calling for cards.

   Nine minutes later, after Tony Granato made it 3-2, there was Gretzky weaving down center ice with the puck on his stick, a sight no goaltender wants to see. Aaron with a hanging curve. Gretzky slapped it in from 30 feet or so. The score was tied.

   It wasn’t enough. For the second game in a row, the Kings lost quickly (34 seconds) in overtime.

   But it couldn’t obscure a central fact for the Kings. When Gretzky is on the ice, they are a Stanley Cup team. When he isn’t they are — well, maybe not a buttercup team but at least a hiccup.

   He put them in the Stanley Cup final. Will they come back?

   Even if they don’t, the fact that they’re there means the community has now found out something the rest of hockey already knew. Wayne Gretzky is half a hockey team all by himself. Behind that choirboy exterior beats the heart of a train robber. The halo slips when he gets the puck.

   He has finally done what he came to do. When you think of the athletes who came to this town with flags waving and bands playing but who crept out whining and complaining, Gretzky stands up and stands out. He starred for his sport and spoke for his sport. He put hockey on Page 1 and Prime Time. That’s a hat trick all its own.

Reprinted with the permission of the Los Angeles Times

Jim Murray Memorial Foundation, P.O. Box 60753, Pasadena, CA 91116


What is the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation? 

  The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, established in 1999 to perpetuate the Jim Murray legacy, and his love for and dedication to his extraordinary career in journalism. Since 1999, JMMF has granted 104 $5,000 scholarships to outstanding journalism students. Success of the Jim Murray Memorial Foundation’s efforts depends heavily on the contributions from generous individuals, organizations, corporations, and volunteers who align themselves with the mission and values of the JMMF.

Like us on Facebook, and visit the JMMF website, www.jimmurrayfoundation.org

Scattershooting: On organ donor awareness and a little bit more

Scattershooting


Roy MacGregor of The Globe and Mail is the best essayist in Canada today. It’s not even close. No one knows his/her way around a keyboard the way MacGregor and his magic fingers do. . . . Click right here and you will find his words on the Humboldt Broncos.


A service and prayers in memory of Brock Hirsche is scheduled for Thursday, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Martin Brothers Chapel in Lethbridge. The funeral will be held on Friday, 1 p.m., at Nicholas Sheran Arena, also in Lethbridge. Hirsche, who played for the Prince George Cougars before going on to skate with the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns, was from Lethbridge. He died Sunday after a battle with testicular cancer. . . . Ryan O’Donnell, the play-by-play voice of the Pronghorns, adds that “the Hirsche family would like everyone to wear sports jerseys of any kind.” . . . Dale Woodard has more on Hirsche right here.


By now you are aware that D Logan Boulet who was killed in the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus on Friday, had signed his organ donor card after he turned 21 on March 2. His story has received a lot of play over the past couple of days, something that has resulted in a whole lot of people registering as organ donors in various jurisdictions. . . . There’s a story right here wrapping up all of this.


Here is the list of those killed in the bus crash, as corrected Monday by the Office of the Chief Coroner and the RCMP:

Players

Adam Herold – 16-year-old male from Montmartre, SK
Connor Lukan – 21-year-old male from Slave Lake, AB
Evan Thomas – 18-year-old male from Saskatoon, SK
Jacob Leicht – 19-year-old male from Humboldt, SK
Jaxon Joseph – 20-year-old male from Edmonton, AB
Logan Boulet – 21-year-old male from Lethbridge, AB
Logan Hunter – 18-year-old male from St. Albert, AB
Logan Schatz – 20-year-old male from Allan, SK
Stephen Wack – 21-year-old male from St. Albert, AB
Parker Tobin – 18-year-old male from Stony Plain, AB

Team Personnel

Brody Hinz – 18-year-old male from Humboldt, SK
Darcy Haugan – 42-year-old male from Humboldt, SK
Glen Doerksen – 59-year-old male from Carrot River, SK
Mark Cross – 27-year-old male from Strasbourg, SK
Tyler Bieber – 29-year-old male from Humboldt, SK





Scattershooting: Hirsche’s death adds to weekend of tears

Scattershooting

Brock Hirsche, the captain of the U of Lethbridge Pronghorns, died on Sunday. He had been diagnosed with testicular cancer a couple of years ago and learned earlier this year that it had advanced to a terminal stage. . . . Hirsche, who turned 26 on March 2, was from Lethbridge. He played four seasons (2009-13) with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, before joining the Pronghorns. He last played in 2015-16 when he was the Pronghorns’ captain. . . .  Hirsche was well aware of his situation and wanted to leave a scholarship as a legacy. More than $30,000 had been raised as of Sunday. Should you wish to donate to the Brock Hirsche Pronghorn Hockey Award you are able to do so right here.



Chris Beaudry is the lone surviving member of the Humboldt Broncos’ coaching staff. General manager/head coach Darcy Haugan and assistant coach Mark Cross died in Friday’s crash. . . . Beaudry, who farms near Humboldt and was helping out as an assistant coach, was driving to Friday’s playoff game in Nipawin and was behind the bus. . . . Frank Seravalli of TSN has more on Beaudry right here.



Logan Boulet, a defenceman who was killed in the bus crash on Friday, was mature well beyond his 21 years, of that there is no doubt. He turned 21 on March 2 and immediately committed to organ donation. Less than a month later, some of his organs were used to benefit others. . . . Sammy Hudes of Postmedia has more on Boulet and organ donation right here.



The more I think about it, the more I feel it’s important that the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League continue with its playoffs and allow the Nipawin Hawks and Estevan Bruins to play in a best-of-seven championship final and see it through to its conclusion. . . . As one long-time junior hockey observer told me, “The best way to honour the dead would be to carry on.” . . . I just don’t feel that you honour those who lost their lives by quitting and leaving unfinished business.


It’s amazing how many people have felt something from what happened with the Humboldt Broncos on Friday night. Peter King, perhaps the pre-eminent football writer in the U.S., writes a weekly online piece — Monday Morning Quarterback — that has a huge following. Today, King gave some space to the Broncos. That column is right here. Scroll down a bit to find the piece on the Broncos, including quotes from Dan Ukrainetz, who is part of the Nipawin Hawks’ broadcast team.


Sheldon Kennedy, Swift Current and the healing process

These days, Sheldon Kennedy works at helping other people heal, and Sunday was no exception.

Kennedy survived the bus crash involving the Swift Current Broncos on Dec. 30, 1986. He also survived sexual abuse at the hands of Graham James, who was the general manager and head coach of those Broncos.

These days, Kennedy travels the country as an advocate for children and others who have been, or continue to be, victims of sexual abuse. He also spends a lot of time working on behalf of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre in Calgary, the goal of which is to stop the cycle of abuse.

On Sunday, Kennedy was in Saskatoon to visit with, and offer support to, survivors of Friday’s crash in which 15 people aboard the Humboldt Broncos’ bus lost their lives and the 14 survivors all were injured. The Broncos were en route to Nipawin, where they were to have played the Hawks in Game 5 of a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League semifinal series.

Kennedy, Peter Soberlak and Bob Wilkie, all of whom survived the Swift Current bus crash, and Darren Kruger, whose brother Scott died in that accident, arrived in Saskatoon on Sunday, then later travelled to Humboldt for a prayer vigil.

This kind of support is certain to help Humboldt and the Broncos’ family with the healing process, a process that really won’t end.

For proof of that, let’s revisit the City of Swift Current and all that its citizens have gone through since that blustery day in late December of 1986.

Only James and his victims knew at that time what was going on behind closed doors. The survivors of the bus crash went on to play again and, in fact, won the Memorial Cup in the spring of 1989, still with James at the helm.

The Broncos’ success was seen as an avenue to healing in Swift Current, a city of about 16,000 people who absolutely loved their hockey team.

In time, the players moved on with their lives, some going into pro hockey, others on to careers.

Kennedy was one who went on to pro hockey. Then, in 1996, Kennedy, a troubled individual by that time, blew the whistle on James, who by now was with the Calgary Hitmen. James was charged on Nov. 22 with two counts of sexual assault involving more than 300 encounters with a pair of former players over a 10-year period.

The national media, which 10 years earlier had descended on Swift Current with tears in its eyes and empathy in its words, returned, only this time it was pointing fingers. It had questions. Who knew what? When did they know it? You didn’t know anything? Why didn’t you know?

The citizens of Swift Current, who had healed perhaps as well as you ever will from the loss of four sons, withdrew into their homes and pulled down the shades. Now they were being forced to relive the past over and over and over again. Whenever James resurfaced in the public eye — and it was often — Swift Current found itself back in the spotlight. “Here we go again” could have been the city’s motto.

Through all of this, Kennedy had what was at best an arm’s-length relationship with Swift Current. He returned in 2009 for a 20-year reunion of the Memorial Cup team, but admitted to feeling that there still were “a lot of skeletons” in the community.

That changed on May 27, 2016, when Kennedy, by now mature and well into his role as an advocate, was in Swift Current to be inducted into the Broncos’ Hall of Fame. It was almost 30 years since the accident and Kennedy wanted to let the city know that it was OK to let go, that it was OK to hold your head high and to move on.

“I think it’s another day to give us all permission to move forward in a positive direction and forgive ourselves but not forget,” Kennedy told the crowd at the banquet and induction ceremony. “I think that’s important, and understanding the important role of sport and understanding the important role of community and raising kids and making sure that we create that healthy atmosphere (in which) to do so. . . . we can move beyond tragic events and there’s hope. It has to be about hope and there’s hope to learn, to accept and to move on. I think that’s important and that’s what today is, and for that it means a lot to me.”

That was the day when Kennedy made Swift Current his city.

One thing that Kennedy and Wilkie have always remembered is that they were left to heal on their own in the aftermath of the bus accident.

In his book Why I Didn’t Say Anything, Kennedy wrote: “You would have thought that someone in charge would have arranged for the survivors to receive therapy to help them deal with the shock and grief following the accident, but none of us received any kind of professional help. Nobody seemed to want to talk about what happened.”

Kennedy, in the book Sudden-Death: The Incredible Saga of the 1986 Swift Current Broncos, put it this way: “The idea that Graham James got us through the bus crash is insulting. We didn’t rally around him. The players rallied. He had nothing to do with it. And he kept the professional help from the team because he didn’t want anyone to know he was a sexual predator — keeping out professional help was his idea, not the players’. The idea of keeping the dressing room door closed came from him.”

Wilkie, meanwhile, told Eric Francis of Postmedia: “We weren’t allowed to talk about it for fear his dirty secret would come out. My mom wondered for years why we were never given any of the resources we needed to cope with it properly. Those who wanted help were told ‘no’ by Graham. Now we know why.”

That — wanting to help — was the motivation for the quick decision to fly into Saskatoon on Sunday. They know that unlike 1986 there will be professional help available to people impacted by what transpired on Highway No. 35 near Nipawin on Friday night.

At the same time, Kennedy, Soberlak and Wilkie are among the few who have survived this kind of tragedy and know that they have something to offer.

At the same time, the people of Humboldt, with its population of about 6,000, know that the hurt isn’t going to go away anytime soon. You never want to lose the memories, but there are times when you don’t want to hurt. But it always will be there, to one degree or another.

And just when you think that maybe it is gone, there will be an accident somewhere and people will remember what happened to Humboldt’s hockey team on April 6, 2018, and the spotlight will return.

If you don’t believe it, just ask the people of Swift Current, who no doubt have been reliving it all for the past two days.

Scattershooting in the aftermath of tragedy

Scattershooting

Logan Boulet, a defenceman from Lethbridge who turned 21 on March 2, was among the players who died on Friday in the tragedy involving the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos.

Boulet had signed his organ donor card upon turning 21, and his organs will benefit others. He was kept on life support into Saturday in order to allow that to happen.

Liam Nixon of Global Lethbridge tweeted a statement from Logan’s father, Toby, on Saturday evening. Part of that statement: “Despite other media reports today, Logan’s strong heart continues to beat this evening. The final harvesting of Logan’s organs will take place overnight, now that he has positive matches for all organs donated.”

Earlier, Nixon had reported that Logan “is giving new hope to at least six different people.”

Neil Langevin, a family friend of the Boulets, was Logan’s godfather. Langevin tweeted that a surgical team from the U of Alberta hospital would travel to Saskatoon “for organ transplant procedures. There have been matches made for all vital organs, including a patient set to receive his heart and lungs. . . . The family will stay with Logan until the surgery begins at around 2 a.m.”

Langevin added: “Following the organ surgery, his other organs will be donated to science as he requested. These actions alone give voice to the selfless and benevolent nature Logan possessed in life for others, truly taught and fostered by Toby and Bernie.”

As someone whose wife was did peritoneal dialysis for four years before being the beneficiary of a kidney transplant, I will admit there were tears when I read all of this news. There really aren’t words at a time like this, but a heartfelt ‘Thank you’ — along with the deepest condolences — to Logan’s family and friends.



Glen Doerksen was driving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus at the time of the accident. He didn’t survive the crash. He also drove for the Kinistino Tigers of the Wheatland Senior Hockey League. . . . Dave Deibert of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix has more on Doerksen right here.


Sheldon Kennedy, Peter Soberlak and Bob Wilkie were players with the 1986-87 Swift Current Broncos and survived the bus crash on Dec. 30, 1986, that claimed the lives of four teammates. Kennedy, Soberlak and Wilkie are scheduled to arrive in Humboldt today (Sunday) and will provide help and support where they can.


On Saturday evening, I received an email from a relative of one of the injured players. “His Mother is there and having mixed emotions with her son surviving with other Mothers losing sons,” read part of the email. . . . Yes, survivor’s guilt is something with which people will have to deal, which is among the many reasons that counsellors are being made available.



One of the things we need to keep in mind at a time like this is that because of social media, spring/summer hockey and travelling teams, players throughout hockey are often more than acquainted with so many more players than players of yesteryear. Thus, a tragedy of this nature will have a far greater and more personal impact on more players than even the accident involving the Swift Current Broncos.



While general manager/head coach Darcy Haugan and assistant coach Mark Cross were among the fatalities, athletic therapist Dayna Brons survived and is recovering from undisclosed injuries in hospital. From Lake Lenore, Sask., she is a graduate (kinesiology and health studies) of the U of Regina. Brons is in her second season with the Broncos.


Darcy Haugan, 41, leaves behind his wife, Christine, and two sons, Carson and Jackson. Christine works for the Broncos as their office manager.


If you click right here, you will find a person-by-person look at many of those killed or injured in the crash involving the Humboldt Broncos’ bus.


Devin Cannon and his wife, Rene, provided a billet home for three of the Humboldt Broncos players — D Xavier Labelle, 18, from Saskatoon; F Logan Hunter, from St. Albert, Alta.; and D Adam Herold, who was to turn 17 on Thursday. Herold spent this season as the captain of the midget AAA Regina Pat Canadians. When their season ended, he joined the Broncos. . . . Labelle, Hunter and Herold all died in the crash.


F Evan Thomas, 18, also died in the accident. From Saskatoon, his father, Scott, played for the Moose Jaw Warriors (1988-91) and Tacoma Rockets (1991-91) and now is involved in hockey as the president of the midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers. Evan was in his first season with the Broncos. . . . F Jaxon Joseph, 20, was the son of Chris Joseph, a defenceman who played with the Seattle Thunderbirds (1985-88) before going on to a pro career that included 510 NHL games. . . . Jaxon played 21 games with the BCHL’s Surrey Eagles in 2015-16, before joining the SJHL’s Melfort Mustangs where he spent last season. He played 16 games with the Mustangs this season before being acquired by the Broncos.


Another email that I received on Saturday evening pointed out that “in my opinion, buses are a terrific mode of transport. I have been riding in/driving a bus for close to 40 years and in that time there are only a couple of times that were scary. Buses, inherently, with their long wheel base are very stable in almost all conditions — fog and black ice being the exceptions. Kudos to all the drivers out there who have done such an outstanding job all these years.” (The afore-mentioned email didn’t come from Bob Ridley.)