Canadian police: Fatalities after bus crash involving junior hockey league team

NIPAWIN, Saskatchewan — A crash between a transport truck and a bus carrying a junior hockey team in the province of Saskatchewan has left 14 people dead and 14 injured, according to multiple reports, citing the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Police say there were 28 people on the bus at the time of the crash, including the driver. Three of the injuries are critical in nature.

The bus was carrying the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League to the town of Nipawin for a playoff game. It collided with a transport truck.

Broncos president Kevin Garinger said there are multiple fatalities.

“This is much larger than anyone can begin to imagine,” Garinger told the CBC. “We are just in utter disbelief and shock at the loss that’s fallen upon us.”

Garinger told The Canadian Press that the team includes players from Edmonton, Slave Lake and Airdrie in Alberta and from Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

“It’s a horrible accident, my God,” said Darren Opp, president of the Nipawin Hawks hockey team. “It’s very, very bad.”

Opp said a semi T-boned the players’ bus, adding that the coaching staff and players from the Hawks are waiting to help.

“They are sitting in the church just waiting to hear any good news,” he said. “There’s uncles and moms and dads waiting to hear whether their sons and nephews are OK.”

Pastor Jordan Gadsby at the Apostolic Church in Nipawin said more than 100 people gathered at the church. “Some of them are waiting to hear if their kids are alive,” he said.

Gadsby said they know there are multiple fatalities, but they haven’t heard how many.

Kevin Henry, a coach who runs a hockey school in Prince Albert, said people are in shock.

“It is sort of every parent’s worst nightmare,” Henry said. “This is, I would think, one of the darkest days in the history of Saskatchewan, especially because hockey is so ingrained in how we grow up here.”

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is a Junior “A” hockey league under Hockey Canada, which is part of the Canadian Junior Hockey League. It’s open to North American-born players between the ages of 16 and 20.

The RCMP said the collision occurred late Friday afternoon.

“I cannot imagine what these parents are going through, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy, in the Humboldt community and beyond,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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