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Fort McMurray-Born Hockey Player Killed In Broncos Bus Crash

Fort McMurray, AB, Canada / MIX 103.7
Fort McMurray-Born Hockey Player Killed In Broncos Bus Crash

Photo courtesy of Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

A Fort McMurray-born hockey player has now been identified as one of the deceased in a Friday’s fatal bus crash involving a Saskatchewan junior hockey team.

Saskatchewan’s Ministry of Justice issued a statement Monday saying the body of Parker Tobin, who was born in Fort McMurray, was mistaken for Xavier Labelle.

The Ministry says Labelle is injured but alive.

Tobin, who played goalie for the Humboldt Broncos, won his first Jr. A game against the Fort McMurray Oil Barons as a member of Drayton Valley Thunder.

The night of the crash, his mom tweeted Tobin was in stable condition.

The Ministry said similar body type and hair colour contributed to the misidentification.

On Wednesday, the Saskatchewan Health Authority also announced that Dayna Brons, who was the team’s athletic therapist – has passed away, becoming the 16th victim in the tragedy.

Saskatchewan and Canada come together in vigil to remember the Humboldt Broncos

The Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt, Saskatchewan was at capacity again Sunday night, but not for the reason most were expecting.

The Elgar Petersen Arena was near capacity an hour before Sunday night’s vigil for the Broncos. Photo by Ryan McNally.

Many were, before Friday afternoon, preparing for game six between the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos and Nipawin Hawks.

Instead, family, friends, fans, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Scott Moe, Don Cherry and Ron McLean and many more converged on the Broncos home to remember the ten players, two coaches, a play-by-play announcer, a statistician, a well known bus driver and most recently the team’s athletic therapist who were killed Friday afternoon when their bus was t-boned by a semi on Highway 35 just north of Tisdale while on route to their playoff game in Nipawin.

There are also 13 others who were injured some critically, still fighting in a Saskatoon hospital.

In what will soon become known as the worst hockey tragedy in Canadian history, everyone in attendance in Humboldt, and at many other vigils around the nation were all Broncos for the night.

The tragedy has reached figures all around the world, including Queen Elizabeth and President Donald Trump.

One of the many vigils held Sunday was in Regina in front of City Hall, where a crowd of about 200 gathered to light their own candles.

One of the players lost was the captain of the city’s Midget “AAA” team the Pat Canadians.

The Broncos had ties to many communities across the continent, with players hailing from four provinces and two states south of the border, easy to see why people have been touched from all corners.

Broncos’ Fort McMurray Connection

Aside from Tobin, there were many ties between members of the Fort McMurray hockey community and the Broncos.

Mark Hartigan is a former NHLer who spent two seasons in the mid-90’s playing for the Weyburn Red Wings of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and played against Humboldt a number of times in his junior career.

Born in Lethbridge, but now residing in Fort McMurray, he says there are no words to express the pain the Tobin’s and 14 other families are dealing with.

“To happen to a local boy, it’s absolutely devastating and heartbreaking. Especially with the news that came out about Parker. That makes it even worse.”

Head Coach of the Fort McMurray Oil Barons Tom Keca echoed Hartigan’s sentiment to the Tobin family – saying the Barons’ organization stands with them.

The MOB bench boss says he’s spoken with many of his own players since the tragedy, some of whom had friends playing with the Broncos.

Having lost a good friend in Broncos’ head coach Darcy Haugan – Keca says he sympathizes with some of his players might be going through.

“He really was one of the nicest guys you could ever meet, and you knew that whenever you got a phone call from Darcy or you had to call him, it didn’t just revolve around hockey – it revolved around life and family.”

Despite the tragic loss of 16 lives, the MOB coach feels the incident has united the sporting world.

“This is something that hits everybody on some form of level. You don’t have to be a hockey player to understand. If you’re a figure skater, a dancer or a swimmer, you’ve travelled on a bus and up until something like this happens – that bus is a safe place.”

Hartigan says the love expressed across the country, despite the tragedy, is indicative of how even the darkest times – hockey brings people together.

“This is something that will stick with us for a lifetime. For something like that to happen to something so close to home. And hockey is home to so many Canadians and North Americans.

Hartigan is coordinating a public skate in support of the Broncos on Saturday at the Casman Centre – running from 1-3 p.m.

GoFundMe page was set up not long after the accident and by Wednesday night had climbed to almost 9-million.

The RMWB is also offering their sympathy, with Mayor Don Scott giving regards on behalf of council.

“We offer our sincerest condolences to the victims, families, friends and all those who were impacted by this tragedy,” Scott said. “We offer our thoughts and prayers to those who are struggling in this difficult time, and we pray for a fast recovery for those who’ve been injured.”

The municipality will be taking a number of steps to paying respect – flags at all RMWB facilities will be at half mast and there will be a moment of silence at tomorrow’s council meeting.

In addition, the Saline Creek Bridge and Shell Place canopy will be lit up in green and gold in memory of the team for the remainder of the week.

files courtesy of Harvard Fort McMurray’s Regina station 620 CKRM

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