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At Least 14 Killed in Bus Crash Involving Junior Hockey League Team in Canada

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The Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. “Our Broncos family is in shock as we try to come to grips with our incredible loss,” the Broncos president, Kevin Garinger, said in a statement. Credit Humboldt Broncos

At least 14 people were killed late on Friday after a tractor-trailer collided with a bus filled with members of a Junior League hockey team on their way to a playoff game, the Canadian authorities said.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said that 14 other people had been injured, three of them critically. A total of 28 people, including the driver, were on the bus at the time of the collision, investigators said.

The police have released no information on the driver of the tractor-trailer.

“We are not confirming the identity of the victims at this time, including whether the deceased are players or coaches,” the police said in a statement early Saturday morning.

But The Saskatoon StarPhoenix, a local newspaper, identified one surviving player as Derek Patter. And on Twitter, a man identified as his father, R. J. Patter shared a photo of his son and two other players, with the message: “Derek Grayson and Nick bonding and healing.”

The crash happened about 5 p.m. on a highway about 18 miles north of Tisdale, a remote part of Saskatchewan, the police said; the wreck clogged traffic and caused major delays.

In a tweet, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League identified the hockey team as the Humboldt Broncos. Players for the Broncos range in age from 16 to 21, according to the team’s roster.

The Broncos president, Kevin Garinger, said in a statement, “Our Broncos family is in shock as we try to come to grips with our incredible loss.”

“Our organization will never be the same,” he added.

Reached by telephone Saturday morning, the team’s assistant coach, Chris Beaudry, said “I’m the only staff left.”

Relatives of the team members gathered at the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt, according to the local news media. Sobs could be heard as people received news of friends and loved ones on their phones.

Humboldt has a population of about 6,000, and many of the players lived with host families in the town.

The team had been scheduled to play the Nipawin Hawks on Friday night. “Tonight’s game is canceled,” the Hawks said on Twitter.

In a Facebook post, Scott Moe, the premier of Saskatchewan, said his province was grieving. “Words cannot describe the loss that we feel tonight,” he said. “The news I have heard is difficult to comprehend.”

In a tweet, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada said he could not imagine what the parents of the players were going through. “My heart goes out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy,” he said.

Darren Opp, president of the Hawks, told local news outlets that the tractor-trailer had broadsided the Humboldt players’ bus.

“It’s a horrible accident, my God,” he said. “It’s very, very bad.”

“There’s uncles and moms and dads waiting to hear whether their sons and nephews are O.K. “It’s terrible. It’s absolutely terrible,” he added.

An outpouring of grief and support emerged overnight and this morning from the small province in central Canada. Hotels offered family members of the victims free accommodation. A Go Fund Me webpage, raised more than $ 104,000 in 12 hours.

As the news spread, other sports teams — professional and amateur — began sending their condolences publicly. Sheldon Kennedy, a retired NHL player who was in a similar fatal bus crash involving a Saskatchewan hockey team in December 1986, tweeted he was “sending all my thoughts and prayers to those impacted with the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.”

Heath officials were directing relatives of the team’s members to the Apostolic Church in the town of Nipawin. The Saskatchewan Health Authority said on Twitter that the Royal University Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital were handling “a high volume of incoming trauma cases.”

Source: NYT > World

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