Five months after the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash, the team is making its final preparations to return to the ice.
The April 6 crash in eastern Saskatchewan between the team’s bus and a semi killed 16 players and staff, and left 13 injured.
Just over a month later, the Broncos vowed to be back on the ice for the 2018-19 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) season.
The rebuild included hiring a new general manager and head coach, and filling out the roster.
The Broncos turned to Nathan Oystrick, who said at the time of his hiring he would never forget the circumstances that brought him to Humboldt.
WATCH BELOW: Humboldt Broncos’ head coach preps for first regular season game since bus tragedy
Ten players were selected from other SJHL teams, six players taken in the bantam draft, and workouts were held for 80 prospects prior to training camp.
Only two survivors of the crash are back with the team – Brayden Camrud and Derek Patter.
Four other players who suited up for some games with the Broncos during the 2017-18 season are also on the team.
The remaining 16 players on the 22-man roster and the coaching staff joined the team after the crash.
WATCH: Calgary elementary students show support for Humboldt Broncos.
The new era starts on Sept. 12 when the Broncos take on the Nipawin Hawks at Elgar Petersen Arena in their season opener, the same team the Broncos were to play on the evening of the crash.
Team president Jamie Brockman is not really sure what to expect.
“I know we’re going to have a hockey team that is going to want to play for that logo on the chest,” Brockman told The Canadian Press.
“And a lot of people that want to see that be successful.”
Oystrick hopes it’s just like any other game and that the team is focused on playing its best.
But he says he knows it will probably be emotional, especially for the players who are returning to the Broncos this year.
In the lead-up to the game, the team announced the players who will form the leadership group.
The Broncos have elected not to name a captain as a tribute to last year’s captain Logan Schatz, who was killed in the in the crash.
WATCH: Humboldt Broncos prepares for emotional home opener
Instead, three alternate captains have been named for the season: Camrud and Patter, along with newcomer Michael Clarke.
Following the game, the Broncos will hold a tribute ceremony for all those affected by the crash.
WATCH BELOW: Coverage of the Humboldt Broncos
Global News at 6 and Global News at 10 will broadcast live from Humboldt on Sept. 12
Global will also live-stream press conferences taking place Tuesday and Wednesday leading up to the game.
– With files from The Canadian Press
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