Attention in the town where 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team were killed in a bus crash is turning to supporting students as they return to school following the tragedy.
Kevin Garinger, director of education for the Horizon School Division and president of the Broncos, said schools were closed Monday after the junior hockey team’s bus collided with a tractor trailer northeast of Saskatoon on Friday.
Classes resumed Tuesday but Garinger says the focus will be on the well-being of students and staff.
He says some of the junior hockey players were students and others were former students of the Horizon School Division.
Garinger says some teachers also billeted the players.
“These were our kids,” Garinger said, choking back tears. “These athletes are and were heroes to many.”
A crisis response team is in place and counselling is being offered to anyone who needs it. Horizon School Division is working in partnership with the Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division to provide the supports that are needed.
Administrators from both divisions along with a traumatic events response team, counselling staff, family services, Saskatchewan Health and the Saskatoon fire department have been brought together to combine resources and expertise.
Kevin Cameron, Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma response is also on hand to assess the situation. He along with other members of the team worked to ensure teachers were provided with relevant support and prepared to return to school and meet the needs of their students during this difficult time.
Support services outside the town of Humboldt are being provided on an as needed basis. Counselling services are available from internal counselors as well as partner organizations.
Garinger strongly encouraged students and the community to take advantage of the services being made available in order to cope with the tragedy.
He also recognized the support pouring in from around the country and across the world.
“The whole of our country is wrapping its arms around Humboldt,” said Garinger. “That outpouring of support has been vital to beginning the processes, albeit very slow, towards healing.”
The Broncos junior team was heading to Nipawin on Friday when the crash occurred at an intersection north of Tisdale, Sask. RCMP say 15 people died in the crash and 14 were injured.
As of Monday, two people had been released from hospital and, of the dozen that remain, four were listed in critical condition.