Fifteen people were killed and 14 others injured in a horrific crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team on Friday night.
Police say 29 people were on the bus of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team as it travelled north on the highway heading to Nipawin for a playoff game against the Hawks.
Around 5 p.m. Friday, a truck was heading west at a highway intersection south of Nipawin when it collided with the bus. The force of the crash sent both vehicles into the ditch at the northwest corner of the intersection.
Police say the 14 who survived the crash have varying degrees of injury, and some are in critical condition.
The names of the dead and injured have not been officially released, but some have been confirmed by family members, employers and others.
Here’s what we know about the victims so far:
The youngest member of the team, Herold would have turned 17 this week.
He was also a new member of the team — up until a few weeks ago, Herold was captain of the Regina Pat Canadians, manager John Smith said. But when the Regina team’s season wrapped up, Herold was sent to join the Broncos for their playoff round.
“He was a wonderful young man. Never afraid to help his teammates. Always there for them. Good, typical Saskatchewan farm boy. Always load the bus, unload the bus, never afraid to roll up his sleeves and get work done,” Smith said.
Smith said Herold is survived by his mom, dad and an older sister.
Hunter’s death was confirmed by his former team, the St. Albert Raiders in his Alberta hometown.
The organization’s president, Kevin Porter, said he heard the news from Hunter’s mother.
“He always had a smile on his face,” said Porter, who described Hunter as a “smart kid and a great hockey player” with a “great sense of humour.”
The Edmonton native’s death was confirmed by the Surrey Eagles, his former team in the British Columbia Hockey League.
The Broncos website says Joseph, who was 20 years old, was among the leading scorers in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoffs, playing on a line with Logan Schatz, another player who lost his life in the crash.
In a profile published on the team’s website in January, Schatz paid tribute to Joseph and fellow linemate Conner Lukan.
“I’ve really clicked with Joseph and Lukan. I can’t say enough good things about them,” Schatz said.
Tobin, 18, of Stony Plain, Alta., was the last of the deceased to be identified.
This was the goalie’s first season with the Broncos after being traded from the Spruce Grove Saints.
He had played for the Broncos for just over four years and had served as team captain for the past 2 1/2 years, his father Kelly Schatz said.
The native of Allan, Sask., played centre and was named the league’s player of the month in February after earning points in eight of nine games. He was 20 years old.
Kelly Schatz said his family is seeking solace in one another.
“It’s hard,” Kelly Schatz said. “I’ve got four other kids and they’re here, which is nice.”
The 21-year-old defenceman had played with the Broncos for the past two seasons, his cousin Alicia Wack confirmed.
Wack said her cousin made the best gingerbread houses and “absolutely lived and breathed hockey.”
“Stephen has always been an amazing person, son, big brother, and cousin. He is one of the most adventurous, ambitious, and loving people that I have ever been blessed to know,” she said in a Facebook post.
Eighteen-year-old Evan Thomas was a forward for the Humboldt Broncos.
The Kelowna Rockets say in a news release that former Tacoma Rockets captain Scott Thomas lost his son Evan, who had just completed his rookie season with the Broncos.
Thomas, from Saskatoon, was the “kind of kid any dad would be proud to call his” own, said his father, Scott. “He was a self-driven, motivated, retrospective, quiet, confident and very self-assured young man.” He added that Evan was an athlete, playing both hockey and baseball, and a strong student.
“He liked sports, but at times I think he tolerated sports so he could be a teammate,” said Thomas. “He just loved being a teammate. He loved his teammates and I think that was more important to him than the actual sport he was playing.”
“He loved those boys. He really loved those boys.”
Conner Lukan, 21 was a forward for the Humboldt Broncos.
Lukan played with the midget St. Albert Raiders and Spruce Grove Saints in the Alberta Junior Hockey League before joining the Broncos last year.
The Saints announced Lukan’s death on Twitter, along with four other alumni: Stephen Wack, Jaxon Joseph and Logan Hunter.
Nineteen-year-old Jacob Leicht was a Humboldt native and a forward for the Humboldt Broncos.
Jacob is being remembered for his contagious laugh and bright smile.
A family member posted on Facebook that her heart is broken. “Your laughter is so contagious and you had a smile that lit up any room,” Cassidy Tolley wrote in her public post.
She says he wasn’t just family, but one of her favourite people and someone she could count on any time of day.
Leicht was in his first season with the team.
Logan Boulet, 21, originally from Lethbridge, Alberta, was a defenceman for the Humbold Broncos.
Cousin Julie Kindt said on Facebook that he was on life support after the crash until his organs could be donated.
“Logan had made it known, and very clear to his family, that he had signed his organ donor card when he turned 21 just a few weeks ago,” Boulet’s godfather, Neil Langevin, posted in a statement on behalf of the family.
“Logan’s strong heart continues to beat,” he said. “All counted, six people will receive the gift of life from Logan … His other organs will be donated to science as he requested.”
“These actions alone give voice to the selfless and benevolent nature Logan possessed in life.”
Eighteen-year-old Hinz had recently started tallying the Broncos’ numbers for Humboldt radio station CHBO.
“Brody had recently joined our Golden West family, mentored by Tyler and the Bolt FM team,” Lyndon Frieson, president of Golden West Radio, said in a statement posted on the station’s website.
“Tragedy has hit our community and it reaches into every corner of life in Humboldt.”
Another company statement described Hinz as an intern still in high school.
The night of the crash marked a double tragedy for the family. A relative said on Facebook that another family member lost a baby boy in Humboldt hospital shortly after he was born.
Bieber worked for Humboldt radio station CHBO and often travelled with the team as its play-by-play radio announcer.
Steven Wilson, a co-worker in Weyburn, Sask., said it was Bieber’s first season announcing for the team. He also covered morning news.
“He definitely had a natural talent,” said Wilson. “He was just passionate about sports.”
Wilson said he filled in a few times for Bieber because he was also busy coaching the Humbolt high school’s basketball and football teams.
Doerksen, the driver of the bus carrying the team, is described by his employer, Charlie’s Charters, in a Facebook post as an “outstanding friend, husband, and father.”
“In talking to him, he spoke at length of his time in rinks with his own family and now how much he enjoyed being able to take and watch other teams from minor, to senior to SJHL to their hockey games,” the Kinistino Tigers wrote of Doersken, who drove their team to and from playoff games.
“We will never forget the smile on your face as we left Allan after winning the Championship and got you to give ‘two honks for the Cup.’ Tonight Glen, we give two honks for you. Rest easy Sir.”
York University confirmed the death of Mark Cross. The 28-year-old spent five seasons with the York U Lions from 2011-2016 and was an assistant coach with the Broncos.
In a release Lions men’s hockey head coach Russ Herrington said Cross was the MVP in his fifth and final season with the Lions.
“He was a ferocious competitor who had a vibrant approach to life. There was no one in the room that commanded more respect than Mark,” he said.
The head coach of the Broncos was described in online tributes as a “great man” and amazing mentor to young players.
“He will always be a great man in our hearts,” his sister posted on Twitter under the name Debbie Jayne. “The tears just keep coming.”
Before becoming a coach, he played junior hockey in the league in the 1990s.
Steven Wilson, a radio play-by-play announcer in Weyburn, Sask., called Haugan “the classiest guy” in the league who always had time to chat.
He said the last time he saw Haugan, the coach was playing video games in his office with one of his two young sons.
“He was very dedicated to his family and at the same time he was a hockey guy.”
Wilson said Haugan’s wife, Christina George-Haugan, worked as the team’s office manager.
Information compiled by CP reporters Nicole Thompson, Michelle McQuigge, Morgan Lowrie and Chris Purdy.