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

Good Reads: A quilt for friends of the Maple Ridge Public Library

Quilt launch on Saturday, 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Country Fest brings new talent to the stage in Maple Ridge

Spencer Creek: Live Musical Showcase is at Country Fest on July 29th.

Along the Fraser: The wasp nest had to go

Give a hoot, don’t pollute is my motto.

Maple Ridge wants to limit number of auto wreckers

Staff writing up change to M2 industrial zone

Katzie Slough cleanup gets the go-ahead after last year’s cancellation

Volunteers are wanted to help clean Pitt Meadows’ Katzie Slough.

Here’s what you need to know about Day 2 at the BC Games

From equestrian to volleyball to swimming, all 18 events in full swing here in the Cowichan Valley

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

No Name brand chicken nuggets recalled due to possible salmonella

Canadian Food Inspection Agency says multiple illnesses reported in B.C., Alberta and Ontario

Lodeiro scores twice to help Sounders beat Whitecaps 2-0

Seattle’s Nicolas Lodeiro opened the scoring in the fifth minute when he converted a penalty kick

Fraser Surrey Docks mechanic dies on the job

‘This is a very sad day - a worker went to his job this morning and didn’t go home’

VIDEO: Critter Care opens its doors

Thousands attend open house at Lower Mainland wildlife rehabilitation centre

Race walker breaks 18-year-old BC Games record

Zone 6 athlete Olivia Lundman crossed finish line with ease, to loud cheers in Cowichan

Most Read