Members of the University of Alberta Pandas hockey team said they couldn’t help but think of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash after their team bus was involved in a crash on the way home from Calgary over the weekend.
“It’s gone through all of our heads,” captain Cayle Dillon said on Monday. “Especially because some of the girls are pretty close with some of the boys on that Humboldt bus, so it really hits home.”
“We were really, really fortunate and we’re definitely counting our blessings,” goaltender Kirsten Chamberlin added.
“But I know for the vast majority of us, it was definitely scary and you’re definitely thinking about that quite a bit afterwards.”
Two student athletes were taken to hospital with minor cuts and bruises after the crash early Saturday morning. The crash happened on the QEII at around 1:30 a.m., just south of Leduc.
The women’s hockey team was on the way home from Calgary after a game Friday night.
RCMP confirmed that no serious injuries were reported. Details of the crash have not been released. A truck was also involved in the crash and the bus was heavily damaged.
“There was a loud noise, a big bang and all we knew is there was glass raining in and people were screaming and it was kind of chaotic,” Chamberlin recalled.
“For myself personally, I was actually really lucky because I was sleeping with my back to the window so when it broke against me, I was able to curl over and protect my head, protect my face. So I was really fortunate.”
The head coach of the team said he was reviewing game video when the crash happened.
“The next thing I know there was flying glass and screaming people. It was quite traumatic,” Howie Draper said.
“I don’t think that there’s been any indication of exactly what happened.”
Once the bus came to a stop, Draper walked down to make sure everyone was OK. While no one was seriously injured, the crash definitely shook the team.
“In those couple, few seconds where you’re trying to figure everything out it was really, really scary. Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is Humboldt,” Chamberlin said.
The team’s rematch Saturday night against Calgary was postponed. Instead, the coach had the team over to his house for pizza. The hockey players said it was a much-needed time for the team to bond and talk out what they went through the previous night.
“Everyone had a chance to kind of say how they experienced it and what they were feeling and I think that kind of helped everyone debrief,” Chamberlin said.
“It was just important that we all sat down, we all shared feelings and our emotions. I think it was important to get started on the healing process,” Draper added.
The players said the university has been incredibly supportive through the crash, making sure they’re connected with resources to help them through it.
Details for a makeup game between the Pandas and the Calgary Dinos have not been finalized.