Canadian sports tragedies from 1956 until Friday’s Humboldt crash
A fatal crash on Highway 35 in Saskatchewan involving a semi-truck and the team bus of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team killed 14 people and injured another 14 late Saturday night.
Since December, 1956, there have been six major sports tragedies involving Canadian teams, the most recent one being in 2011 involving assistant coach Igor Korolev, a former NHL player who was a naturalized Canadian with dual Canadian/Russian citizenship, who was killed along with 44 other members of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL team.
Here’s a roundup of all the major Canadian sports tragedies over more than six decades.
Dec. 9, 1956 – Canadian Football League’s Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers
WATCH: RCMP confirm multiple fatalities, injuries in bus crash involving Humboldt Broncos Hockey club
Five players from the Blue Bombers and Roughriders were killed when their plane crashed into Mount Slesse near Chilliwack, B.C., as they returned home from the CFL’s all-star game in Vancouver. A total of 62 people were killed when the plane lost control due to severe icing and turbulence. Melvin Howard Becket (Roughriders), Mario Joseph DeMarco (Roughriders), Gordon Henry Sturtridge (Roughriders), Raymond Nicholas Syrnyk (Roughriders) and Calvin Jack Jones (Blue Bombers) were among the dead.
Nov. 24, 1974 – Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Sherbrooke Castors
Centre Gaetan Paradis was killed when the Sherbrooke Castors bus crashed nearly 50 kilometres outside of Chicoutimi, Que. Although 29 of his teammates were severely injured when the bus flipped over due to treacherous road conditions, only the 19-year-old Paradis died in the accident.
Dec. 30, 1986 – Western Hockey League’s Swift Current Broncos
Junior hockey players Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Chris Mantyka, and Brent Ruff were killed instantly when the Swift Current Broncos’ bus hit a patch of black ice on the Trans-Canada Highway while heading east toward Regina. The four were sitting in the back of the bus when it hit an overpass, flipped and then slid for nearly 100 metres. Survivors of that crash included future Hockey Hall of Famer Joe Sakic and head coach Graham James, who was later convicted of sexually abusing two of his players.
Jan. 12, 2008 – Bathurst High School boys basketball team
Teenagers Javier Acevedo, Codey Branch, Nathan Cleland, Justin Cormier, Daniel Hains, Nikki Kelly and Nickolas Quinn, all from Bathurst, N.B., were killed when a van carrying their high school basketball team crashed just outside their hometown. Elizabeth Lord, the coach’s wife, was also killed when the van collided with a semi-truck, injuring four other passengers in the van. Two investigations, one by the RCMP and the other by Transport Canada, found the cause of the disaster was a combination of poor road conditions, lack of proper snow tires, and possible driver error.
Feb. 12, 2010 – Olympic luge slider Nodar Kumaritashvili
Nodar Kumaritashvili of Georgia was fatally injured in a luge crash during his final training run at the Olympic Sliding Centre in Whistler, B.C. The 21-year-old lost control in the penultimate turn of the course. He was thrown over the sidewall of the track, striking an unprotected steel support pole. The accident occurred just hours before the opening ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Games.
Sept. 7 2011 – Kontinental Hockey League’s Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s team plane ran off the runway before takeoff, striking a tower mast, catching fire and crashing two kilometres away from the airport in Yaroslavl, Russia. Thirty-seven members of the KHL team died, including head coach Brad McCrimmon of Dodsland, Sask., and assistant coach Igor Korolev, a former NHL player who was a naturalized Canadian with dual Canadian/Russian citizenship. Crew member Alexander Sizov was the sole survivor. A total of 45 passengers died.
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