As Canadians continue to come to grip with news of the fatal Humboldt Broncos crash, it’s brought back painful memories for survivors of a similar crash more than 30 years ago.
Support continued to pour in Sunday morning as Sheldon Kennedy and two other former Swift Current Broncos, Bob Wilkie and Peter Soberlak, landed at Saskatoon’s airport.
The three men were involved in a 1986 bus crash, just outside of Swift Current, that killed four of their teammates.
“We can relate to the pain that’s going on here, we’ve spent 30 years trying to find our way through this kind of darkness ourselves and hopefully we can bring some hope to those that are struggling right now,” Kennedy said.
Shortly after landing, the three men made a stop at Royal University Hospital to offer condolences to some of the survivors and their families.
“We’re all one big family, we’ve been a family for 30 years and now they’ve joined our family,” Soberlak said. “We feel connected to every one of these people who’ve been a part of this and that means parents, relatives and first responders and the people in the hospital right down to the people on that bus.”
Soberlak said the first thing that went through his mind after learning about Friday’s crash was the sorrow and the pain of everyone involved.
“It’s hard to fathom and put into words what the feeling is, it’s just something that takes over your body and you just have to go through the process of getting to the point where you can talk about it and start to heal,” Soberlak explained.
Even 30 years later the memories of that day, is still something all three men carry with them.
“The hardest part for us right now is just understanding what pain these kids are going through, what they’re in for, the struggle that the families, communities and billets are going to have trying to make sense of this,” Wilkie said.
“You wonder when it’s going to stop when it’s going to go away, when you’re not going to have that in your mind anymore. For us it was a long, long time and these kids being so young and having to have this kind of life experience is going to be very difficult for them to overcome, but they will overcome it.”
WATCH BELOW: Former Swift Current Bronco Bob Wilkie, who was involved in ’86 crash, en route to Humboldt
Five former teammates of the Humboldt Broncos also landed in Saskatoon this morning to pay their respects and offer support.
“It’s just huge to know that everyone affected has support and you’re never alone and you have all your friends and everyone with you for whenever you need it,” Parker Wakaruk said.
” You never think about, I mean your there with 20-25 of your closest buddies and you’re playing cards, you’re hanging out, you’re cranking tunes it’s just a good time on the bus and you feel safe and seeing this happen, it’s hard to even imagine something along those lines happening.”
All of the former players and teammates will be in Humboldt Sunday evening, to attend a vigil and offer their support to friends and families of those involved in the tragic crash.