By SOPHIA CONSTANTINO
At least 15 people were killed on Friday night when a tractor-trailer fatally collided with a junior Canadian hockey team bus.
According to CNN, the Humboldt Broncos hockey team was headed to a playoff game in Nipawin when a single-manned tractor -trailer collided with the bus just north of Tisdale. 15 were killed, the beloved head coach among them, and 14 were injured, three of whom are in critical condition. The players’ ages ranged from 16-21; they came from Saskatchewan, Humboldt and Alberta to play for the Broncos. The cause of the collision is yet undetermined and the tractor driver, though initially detained, has been released. His case is not being criminally investigated.
Though the cause of the collision is certainly of interest, the media is tactfully focusing instead on the families of the victims and the state of those still in the hospital. According to Royal Canadian Mounted Police Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki, “It’s too early to comment on the cause of the collision.”
Given the gravity of the tragedy and hockey being such a nationally adored sport throughout Canada, the incident has incited grief and solemnity from leaders, fellow hockey players of every status and, of course, the boys’ hometowns.
According to CNN, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received an outpouring of condolences from world leaders. He responded to the incident himself via Twitter, stating that he “cannot imagine what these parents are going through.”
President Trump also tweeted, “Just spoke to @JustinTrudeau to pay my highest respect and condolences to the families of the terrible Humboldt Team tragedy. May God be with them all!” The NHL responded via twitter as well, stating that it sends “…condolences, comfort and strength to all affected…”
Notably, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock can be seen tearing up in a press conference held on Saturday, expressing his deepest sympathies towards the team’s family members. “It hurts,” he said.
The Philadelphia Flyers, Colorado Avalanche, Hall of Fame member Joe Sakic and former collegiate hockey player Tanner Lane are among the many others to publicly express their condolences to the Broncos, according to New York Daily News.
According to CBC, the towns are uniting at the team’s practice rink, the Elgar Petersen Arena, to support one another and at the Nipawin Apostolic Church to find updated information about recovering team members.
As the victims’ fates become more certain, the coverage of the accident will likely begin to shift towards the cause of the accident and the honoring of those lost in the collision.