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Colour Commentary: Humboldt remembered victims the right way

by Nicholas Di Giovanni September 18, 2018
Colour Commentary: Humboldt remembered victims the right way

TSN was exceptional in broadcast of Broncos home-opener

On Sept. 13, the Humboldt Broncos returned to the ice for their first game in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) since the team’s fatal bus crash on April 6. The Broncos were travelling to Nipawin, SK for their playoff game against the Nipawin Hawks when the team bus collided with a semi-trailer, killing 16 out of 29 people on the bus, ten of which were players.

When the Broncos had their home-opener at the Elgar Petersen Arena last Wednesday night, it was emotional. Only two players from last year’s team, Derek Patter and Brayden Camrud, played in the game, while Tyler Smith is still with the team but recovering from his injuries. Seven of the crash survivors joined the three for a ceremonial face-off and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Ryan Straschnitzki is still in physical rehabilitation while Morgan Gobeil and Layne Matechuk are still in hospital, nearly six months later.

The game was broadcast commercial-free across the nation on TSN and CTV, and TSN did a fantastic job honouring the victims. The ceremony at the arena was simple, yet beautiful, and TSN transmitted those emotions to the rest of the nation.

TSN spent four hours honouring the victims, telling their stories and remembering them. During the game, Chris Cuthbert and Ray Ferraro were exceptional on the broadcast, and it was clear they prepared for hours before the game. They shared anecdotes about the players on the ice, talked about their careers, told stories about the victims, and most importantly, didn’t pretend it was just a normal hockey game. James Duthie hosted the program with compassion, while Ryan Rishaug interviewed the families of the loved ones, and the past players, with so much class and dignity.  Everyone was so professional and it was amazing to watch.   

On a personal note, it was so hard to watch. All the players who died were younger than me, and they were on their way to play a sport I play. It was heartbreaking to hear the story of Tyler Bieber, the team’s radio announcer, because that’s what I’m in school for.

At the end of the night, the Broncos hung up banners honouring the 16 victims: Tyler Bieber, Logan Boulet, Dayna Brons, Mark Cross, Glen Doerksen, Darcy Haugan, Adam Herold, Brody Hinz, Logan Hunter, Jaxon Joseph, Jacob Leicht, Conner Lukan, Logan Schatz, Evan Thomas, Parker Tobin and Stephen Wack.

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