Photo credit Bob Marsh The community was shaken in February when the Princeton Posse’s team bus slid off the road and down an embankment on the way home from a game, resulting in injuries.

Humboldt crash hits home after B.C. hockey team’s close call

Humboldt “really could have been anybody” said the Princeton Posse’s coach

Communities across Canada – and around the world – are expressing shock, horror and grief, following the Saskatchewan bus crash that killed 15 members of a Junior A hockey club and injured another 14.

But the town of Princeton B.C. is also feeling something else – a renewed and profound sense of good fortune.

“It just makes you realize how lucky you are,” said Princeton Posse defenseman Morton Johnston.

Johnston received only minor injuries when the Junior B Posse’s team bus left the road and plunged down an embankment in the early hours of February 4, on the way home from a game in 100 Mile House.

Related: Bus full of Princeton Junior B hockey players slides off highway

Related: Body in Humboldt Broncos bus crash misidentified: justice ministry

“We were so lucky to get out of that with only a couple of scrapes and bruises. Everyone is just saying it’s a real tough situation, but we are lucky for who we have, who we still have with us.”

The driver of the Posse bus – who was credited with preventing a much more serious accident involving a rollover – was injured and taken to hospital, and others reported soft-tissue injuries.

“I launched over two seats…I landed on our starting goalie and he had a concussion and a separated shoulder.”

The deadly crash “really affects the whole hockey world,” said Johnston. “We’ve all been talking about it.”

Related: Stories of 15 killed in Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The president of the Princeton Posse hockey club, Randy McLean, said the accident highlights the need to put safety first.

“Our recent experience of our bus sliding off the road, and this horrific accident, will only stiffen our resolve to provide the safest and most reliable transportation for our players and coaches in the future. There are so many lives at stake,” he said.

“Our hearts go out to the Humboldt parents, players and their organization. No words can hope to sustain the dreadful loss they are experiencing – young men being taken in the prime of their lives from parents who gave so much of their [lives] for them. Every team in our league is contributing to the fund to try and help at this time.”

Related: B.C. hockey chaplain helps community grieve after Humboldt Broncos’ bus crash

Posse coach Mark McNaughton said the possibility of any kind of accident on the road is always in the back of a team’s mind.

“You think about it every time you are on the bus and obviously it could have been any team or organization that travels the way [teams] do in our country…It really could have been anybody else.”

McNaughton was in a hockey arena in Merritt when he learned of the Saskatchewan tragedy.

“It’s gut wrenching any time something like this happens. The initial thought is – knowing the size of the hockey community – the initial thought is ‘who do I know playing in Humboldt this year and who do I know on the staff.”

McNaughton communicated often with the Humboldt coach, who was killed. A player McNaughton was initially concerned for turned out to have been recently traded from the team.

“He wasn’t on the bus.”

Many Princeton families are promising on social media to participate in the BC-wide intiative to wear a sports jersey on Thursday April 12, in memory of the victims from Humboldt.

“Yes we will be wearing our jerseys on the 12th,” said Princeton hockey mom and volunteer Jaclyn Smith Whitecotton.

“And as a hockey family this has been stuck in our minds since it happened – such sadness for the hockey community all over Canada.

We are thankful that the bus accident with our very own Posse was not [like this.]”

Johnston said he and his entire family will don jerseys this Thursday as well.

“I hope everyone can show their support. It’s a really hard situation. I hope everyone sends their prayers and thoughts their way.”

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Oyster River salmon numbers bouyant, Quinsam/Campbell data not so

By Neil Cameron Special to the Mirror In a tale of two… Continue reading

Boy with terminal disease gets his wish – a trip to Disneyland – but family still looking for support

Kaleb Francis, 4, was diagnosed last month with X-linked myotubular myopathy

Local artisan calls new Marine Harvest brand ‘inappropriate,’ too close to his Indigenous name

Salmon farming company prepares for name change amid objections from Mowisaht Designs

The Nutcracker comes alive in two Campbell River performances

River-Port Danceworks show featured professional dancers Danielle Gould and Giovanni Giordano

VIDEO: Close encounter with a whale near Canada-U.S border

Ron Gillies had his camera ready when a whale appeared Dec. 7

Manhunt continues for France shooter

Suspected gunman named, had long police record

‘Jurassic Park,’ ‘Shining’ added to National Film Registry

“These cinematic treasures must be protected because they document our history, culture, hopes and dreams.”

Vancouver Island man runs 500 km for anti-trophy hunting campaign

The 13-day run saw Giordano Corlazzoli run nearly a marathon a day

B.C. Lions hire DeVone Claybrooks as head coach

Former Stampeders DC succeeds CFL legend Wally Buono

France shooting: 2 dead, several wounded in Strasbourg

A world-famous Christmas market was put on lock down on Tuesday

Canadian warship witnesses possible violations of North Korea sanctions

Crew members on HMCS Calgary took photos and collected other information

Christine Sinclair named Canadian Women’s player of the year again

This is the 14th time Sinclair has been named player of the year

Most Read