April 6th of last year was a very sad day for the hockey world as people were struck by a devastating bus crash carrying a hockey team.
On that Friday night, 15 people on the Broncos bus—10 players, two coaches, the driver, the play-by-play announcer and the statistician—died.
The deceased included Jaxon Joseph, the 20-year-old son of the former NHL player, Chris Joseph; and Logan Schatz, the 20-year-old team captain; and their beloved coach, Darcy Haugan. The other 14 passengers were injured.
The team chaplain said “We got a phone call; we knew the bus had crashed,” he says. “But I didn’t ever think it could be that bad. It was The Valley of Darkness. That’s the only way I can put it. Carnage.”
After the crash, it’s like that for everyone in Humboldt, a small city of roughly 6,000 that once claimed to be the mustard capital of the world. The farmers grow rapeseed, flaxseed, barley and wheat there now.
But what Humboldt is really known for is hockey. There’s a street named after Glenn Hall, the homegrown goalie who played for three teams, won two Stanley Cups and was named one of the 100 greatest players in NHL history.
There is a display noting the accomplishments of the goalie, which sits next to exhibits for other NHL players from the area, signs for the drivers as they reach the city limits to vacation off.
I was at the Colorado Avalanche game over this Thanksgiving weekend in Colorado and 2 of the 14 survivors were there. They were highly praised by fans and got a ton of love from Colorado.
They both were honored to drop the puck for the opening face-off and they were both in wheelchairs. The big injuries they survived from were broken backs. One was a goalie and one was a wing for their team.
The Colorado Avalanche had won that game against the Dallas Stars and it was a truly great night.