NORTH VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – In the wake of the tragedy in Saskatchewan, a junior hockey team here in North Vancouver is getting rid of their team bus. However, the owner of the North Van Wolf Pack wants people to know this is not a knee-jerk reaction.
Owner Dean Samson said team brass had talked about ditching the team bus, before last Friday’s crash involving the Humboldt Broncos and a tractor trailer, and mostly for financial reasons.
While holding back tears, Samson admits the crash certainly solidified their decision.
“That, for me, that was it. There’s no discussion about it. I can’t imagine the pain that these people in Humboldt have, seeing their kids drive off in a bus expecting to play a game and you don’t expect your kid not to come home. I couldn’t do that.”
He says there will be little impact on the players as many of their games are in the Lower Mainland and the bus wasn’t really needed. In fact, they were the only team in the Pacific Junior Hockey League (PJHL) with a bus.
Samson says the crash has had a devastating impact on those involved in the sport at every level.
“We’ve all travelled, our kids have travelled on these buses for years all over the place. I think that’s why you’re seeing such a reaction both to the GoFundMe [page], to people who somehow just want to ease the pain for the families and the organization because all these things could have happened to any one of our teams. Any team, in any league in Canada. Everyone, right up to the NHL, they’ve all done that. So, when something like that happens, they look at that the same way we do and say, ‘Oh my God, that could’ve been us. It could’ve been my son.'”
He adds in the future if they do have to travel far for a game they may use a charter bus, but “it’s not likely.”
Samson, whose son coaches in the BCHL, is always in touch now when travelling on a bus. “My wife, she’s texting him every time they’re on the bus going somewhere because they went from Merritt and that Coquihalla, you can imagine what that’s like, just to make sure they arrived.”
Local hockey moms ask for your help to support Humboldt
On Apr. 12, people from coast to coast will be showing their support for the Broncos, in a symbolic way by wearing a jersey. The campaign started in BC and has quickly spread to other provinces and even other countries.
Over the weekend, a group of Langley hockey moms started a Facebook group to support one another. One of those moms, Jennifer Pinch, says that’s when the idea came about. “Really it was just born because we just wanted to do something, especially for the hockey moms.”
Local hockey moms want you to wear a jersey tomorrow to honour the lives lost in the #HumboldtBroncos bus crash nearly a week ago. The link has more info on their Facebook page https://t.co/aejUaiY5kP
— Sonia Aslam (@SoniaSAslam) April 12, 2018
A Facebook event page was then created attracting attention from many who also wanted to something to show their support. “As far as Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Chicago Minor Hockey is going to share it on their page. Nottingham, England is going to share it with their school district as well.”
Pinch says you can wear any jersey as well as a picture on social media with the #JerseysforHumboldt.
She hopes the survivors and families of those who died will feel the support of the world.