The mother of a Humboldt Broncos hockey player who was involved in a horrific crash in Saskatchewan on Friday night said her son is in hospital and doing OK.
The bus carrying the hockey team of young boys collided with a semi-truck about 30 kilometres north of Tisdale, near the junction of Highway 35 on Friday evening. The president of the Nipawin Hawks said a semi-truck T-boned the players’ bus.
As of 9:30 p.m., RCMP could not say how many fatalities or casualties were the result of the crash as rescue efforts were still ongoing.
“Our minds are racing still,” Michelle Straschnitzki, mother of player Ryan Straschnitzki, told Global News on the phone from Airdrie.
“But we’re so concerned about the kids that were on the bus and the people that were on the bus because… they are family. It’s hockey family.”
Michelle said she and her husband have talked Ryan, who started playing with the Broncos in the fall, a couple of times since hearing of the accident from a close friend who is a scout.
“He’s groggy and he’s got, apparently, lower body issues… he can’t feel the lower body,” she said.
“It was a horrific crash and it was devastating.”
WATCH: The RCMP held a press conference on Friday evening to discuss the “significant” crash between a bus carrying the SJHL’s Humboldt Broncos and a tractor-trailer truck.
Ryan is expected to be airlifted to Saskatoon on Saturday, Michelle said.
The team’s roster shows several of the players are from Alberta. Michelle said they know of a few other Alberta players who are OK, but there are still many unknowns as the situation unfolds.
“I don’t know and my heart is broken because I don’t know who else is gone… cause there were a lot of fatalities,” she said.
The reality of Friday’s crash hits home for former Calgary NHL player and activist Sheldon Kennedy.
Kennedy was a player on the Swift Current Broncos hockey team when a bus carrying the team was involved in a crash on their way to Regina for a game in December 1986. Four players were killed.
“[I was] thinking back to the moment when we were involved in the crash and the state of shock,” Kennedy said in an interview with Global News Friday night. “And the eeriness that surrounds an accident like that and how important it was that the community support one another.”
He added he could remember the panic and worry as parents tried frantically to get in touch with their children and scrambled for updates.
WATCH: Sheldon Kennedy, who was involved in the 1986 fatal bus crash involving the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos hockey club, reacts to hearing about the Humboldt Broncos bus crash on Friday.
As parents and teammates and fellow players come to grips with the reality of the situation, Kennedy said it the most people can do is support those involved in any way they can.
“I think one of the things that comes with that, I’ve realized and that I’ve had to deal with and that I know others have that have been through the crashes, we never understood why we felt the way we felt,” he said. “We never understood and we couldn’t point a finger on why we just didn’t feel right.
“If you’re going through a traumatic event like this, and you’re not feeling right, it’s normal.
“And I also learned that the best thing that we can do with one another in these times is to support one another and show up for one another. It’s not words all the time, it’s just showing up for one another and pulling together as a community not apart.”
Watch below: (From Dec. 30, 2016) A memorial has been unveiled for four Swift Current Broncos players on the anniversary of the fatal bus crash.
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