CALGARY — As the country continues to mourn the deaths of 14 people killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy says he can relate to the grief people are feeling in the tragedy’s wake.
RCMP said the crash happened at around 5 p.m. Friday when a truck collided with a bus carrying the junior hockey team to a playoff game in northeastern Saskatchewan.
Kennedy said this situation made him think about the Swift Current Broncos crash in 1986 where four of his teammates were killed.
His team’s bus had hit a patch of ice and crashed while the hockey team was en route to Regina.
“Being in that sort of situation before, I just knew the state of shock and the confusion that comes along with this type of tragedy,” said Kennedy in a phone interview from Calgary on Saturday. “My thoughts are with the families, and the billet families, and the first responders, and anyone involved in the immediate response, because it’s just horrific and it’s really hard to explain.”
Police say there were 29 people including the driver on board the Humboldt Broncos bus, and those who weren’t killed in the collision are in hospital.
Kennedy said it’s important for everyone involved — including those injured, first responders, and the families of the victims — to talk through their feelings about the tragedy.
“I think one thing that we underestimate with the impact of trauma, and PTSD, and going through things like this, is the magnitude of the impact,” he says. “That is what I can’t stress enough.”
Humboldt Broncos manager Kevin Garinger said the Broncos are a close-knit team from the small city of about 6,000 people 110 kilometres east of Saskatoon.
Kennedy said the collective trauma is far-reaching and residual.
“The biggest thing is, we just gotta support that community right now because they’re going to be needing it.”