The Humboldt Broncos will field a team for the 2018-19 season, the team announced on Friday.
The junior hockey team in Saskatchewan was involved in a fatal bus crash in April. Sixteen people – including the head coach and players – died while 13 others were injured. The Broncos are beginning their search for a new coach and general manager this week.
Darcy Haugen was the Broncos coach, and also served as general manager.
“Darcy Haugen was selfless, inspirational and motivating, building up his players to be great ambassadors and role models both on the ice and in the community,” Broncos president Kevin Garinger said in a statement. “He was the coach every player wanted, and that other coaches wanted to emulate. As a general manager, Darcy made smart decisions and was driven to ensure the Broncos organization succeeded in every aspect of its operations. He took our team to new heights – it will be incredibly difficult to find someone that can rise to his standards.”
The team also announced it will hold an invite-only tryout for 80 prospective players from May 27-28 in Saskatoon. The camp will not be open to the media or public.
Tickets for the 2018-19 Broncos season are going on sale soon. While the team said “demand is expected to be high,” they will make “every effort” to ensure 2017-18 season-ticket holders get right of refusal on their seats.
The tragedy reverberated across the hockey community – and internationally. A GoFundMe account collecting funds for the Humboldt raised more than $15 million in less than two weeks, as more than 140,000 people donated from more than 80 countries.
It is the second-largest GoFundMe campaign globally, trailing only the $21.5 million raised for the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby wrote personal messages to each of the crash survivors. Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid were among several NHL players to pay visits to survivors and attended memorial services.
An investigation into the crash is ongoing. A truck carrying peat moss crashed into the team bus, which was ne route to a playoff game. On April 19 the Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police offered an update and said “significant resources are being” used to investigate the crash, though there is no timeline for its completion. The RCMP said the truck driver has been cooperating with authorities, but it is unclear if he blew past a stop sign or why he was in the middle of the intersection.