A new book that was published without the permission of families directly touched by the Humboldt Broncos tragedy, is now being pulled from store shelves.
Global News has learned Humble Beginnings of the Humboldt Broncos and the 2017-2018 Team is no longer being sold at Indigo-Chapters.
There was backlash as the families of Humboldt Broncos players killed in the crash urged the public to boycott the book that hit store shelves in September.
They said the book was penned without with their permission and urged the public to boycott the book.
“It’s our story to tell individually and collectively and he’s trying to tell a story that’s not his to tell,” said Toby Boulet, whose son Logan was one of the players killed in the crash involving the Broncos’ team bus and a semi-truck in April that left 16 people dead and 13 others injured.
The tragedy thrust many families into an unwanted spotlight and now much to their dismay, their story is being told by a stranger, Dr. Barry Heath.
“It would have been one thing to tell a story about the accident even of the history of the Broncos,” Evan Thomas’ father Scott Thomas said.
“When personal stories were told and we didn’t have a chance to contribute to it in a way that we felt appropriate, I think that’s what hit a lot of the families the wrong way.”
According to families, they were approached by Heath as early as three to four weeks after the collision.
“I don’t think that I would tell people what to do but I just want them to know that if you’re going to go buy it, understand you’re supporting a cause that was not endorsed by our 29 families,” Thomas added.
According to the author, the book also focuses on the early history of the team, but the table of contents shows at least 16 of the 28 chapters are dedicated to the bus crash and its aftermath.
The mother of Ryan Straschnitzki, one of the Broncos who survived the crash but was left paralyzed from the chest down, tweeted her displeasure with the author on Monday as well.
Christina George-Haugan, the widow of former Broncos coach Darcy Haugan, also took to social media Monday and made this post.
Heath, a former Saskatchewan coroner and veterinarian, declined to go on-camera on Tuesday, but did release a statement.
“I am sorry some of the families, including the billet families who have been affected in the same way, believed they had to give permission for me to celebrate their loved ones. I relied solely on their interviews with media in order to capture and retell the beautiful memories of lives lost and changed,” read the statement.
“Throughout the Broncos story, people talked about the team being part of the “fabric” of the city of Humboldt. I wove a story where the fabric itself intertwines in so many ways, one cannot help but treasure the team’s history and its promise for the future.”
Thomas, who had been approached by Heath on several occasions, reviewed the statement and had this to say in response.
“He’s probably right, he didn’t need anyone’s permission,” Thomas said.
“But that’s what I want everyone to understand, he didn’t have our permission to write it.”
WATCH BELOW: Father of Humboldt Broncos bus crash victim on controversy surrounding new book
Accused of profiting off other people’s pain in a Facebook post, Heath said for every book sold, half of the proceeds will be donated to the Humboldt Broncos Alumni Association (HBAA). One of the activities of the HBAA is to support hockey players by using funds for bursaries for young players.
Still, Thomas said it is just one more thing that the families had absolutely no control over.
“Understand that we had nothing to do with it and if you choose to support that cause then understand that.”
-With files from Global’s Blake Lough