NIPAWIN, Sask. — RCMP say they are at the scene of a fatal collision involving a transport truck and a bus carrying a hockey team northeast of Saskatoon.
Details on how many people are dead or injured have not been released.
The Nipawin Hawks of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League say the crash involved the team bus of the Humboldt Broncos.
Darren Opp, president of the Hawks, said a semi T-boned the players’ bus that was coming to play against their team.
“It’s a horrible accident, my God,” he said. “It’s very, very bad.”
Opp said 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. “I’ve got 50 phone calls at least saying what do you want?
“There’s uncles and moms and dads waiting to hear whether their sons and nephews are OK.
“It’s terrible. It’s absolutely terrible.”
Pastor Jordan Gadsby at the Apostolic Church in Nipawin said more than a hundred people have gathered at the church — including parents and grandparents of the players who were on the bus.
“Lots of them are waiting for information,” he said. “Some of the families have gotten information and have gone to be with their kids. Some of them are waiting to hear if their kids are alive.”
Gadsby said they know there are multiple fatalities, but they haven’t heard how many.
The chairman of the board for the league was also awaiting more official details.
“We’re just waiting to hear,” said Rick Shultz. “We just know there has been an accident.
“It’s not very good.”
Kevin Henry, a coach who runs a hockey school in Prince Albert, said he knows players on the team.
“People are in such shock. All these young men and boys. We send our kids to play hockey. It is sort of every parent’s worst nightmare,” he 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.”
STARS air ambulance has confirmed that they sent two helicopters to the scene.
The Western Hockey League Swift Current Broncos expressed their condolences.
“Humboldt Broncos weighing heavy in our hearts and minds tonight,” the team said on Twitter.
Four members of the Swift Current Broncos were killed in a bus crash in Saskatchewan in 1986.
Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy, who was one of the players on the bus in 1986, also sent a message of support.
“Sending all my thoughts and prayers to those impacted with the @HumboltBroncos bus crash.”
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 age of 16 and 20.
RCMP said the collision occurred late Friday afternoon on Highway 35, about 30 kilometres north of Tisdale near the junction of Highway 335.
Police say the highway will be blocked for several hours and are urging drivers to avoid the area.
The Canadian Press