SUNRISE, Fla. – The hockey world is in mourning following the crash Friday night of the bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Fifteen people, including several players and the head coach, were killed when the bus was plowed into by a semi while en route to a playoff game in what Canadian media are calling one of the worst tragedies in the history of sports north of the border.
A moment of silence was held in the BB&T Center prior to Saturday night's game between the Sabres and Florida Panthers in memory of the victims. The Broncos' logo was on the giant jumbotron at cetner ice while the arena lights were turned to black to honor the victims.
— Mike Harrington (@ByMHarrington) April 7, 2018
"It's every parent's worst nightmare obviously and my heart goes out to those people in Humboldt," Sabres coach Phil Housley said late Saturday afternoon in his pregame media briefing. "The familes, the community. ... It's one of those things where you're riding the bus, you're free of life and you just feel like you're protected. Something like this happens and it's totally unfortunate and it's devastating."
The Sabres joined many NHL teams and players in tweeting condolences.
We’re heartbroken by the tragic events in Saskatchewan. Our thoughts and prayers are with @HumboldtBroncos and all affected by this terrible tragedy.
Hockey is a family and we join the hockey world with our condolences. #prayforhumboldt
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) April 7, 2018
Sabres defenseman Brendan Guhle played junior hockey in the Western Hockey League in Prince Albert, about 90 miles from Humboldt. He tweeted condolences late Friday night upon hearing the initial reports of the crash.
"It's pretty sad," Guhle said. "I played in that area for a long time. I didn't personally know anyone but I've played against a couple of those kids and it's sad that happened. You really feel for their families and friends."
Prayers out to all of the families and friends of the victims of the Humboldt accident. #PrayForHumboldt
— Brendan Guhle (@guhles_) April 7, 2018
The bus is part of the rite of passage in hockey. Long rides are commonplace in high school, college and junior leagues.
"We spent probably 10 hours a week at least on that thing in junior," Guhle said. "We spent a lot of time on there. We were fortunate to never have any issues. This is a freak accident and it doesn't happen often but this is devastating really."
Housley's son, Wilson, played from 2010-12 in Spooner, Wis., for a team in the Superior International Junior Hockey League and Housley said his son routinely had 11-hour rides to games.
"I know he had friends he played with who came from that area," Housley said. "That's part of coming together as a team. The more time you spend together, the closer you get. You would just never think these things happen and that's why it's so unfortunate because that is your sanctuary as a group, You're not aware of anything going on except what you're doing on the bus with your buddies."