The City of Humboldt is forging ahead with a new multi-million-dollar memorial to those who died in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
The city voted in early May to send an application to the provincial and federal governments with the hopes they would cover roughly 73 per cent of the cost ($25 million).
The centre would be built as an extension of the current hockey rink, the Elgar Petersen Arena, where the SJHL Broncos currently play.
On April 5, 2021, the Humboldt Broncos Memorials Committee unveiled its vision for the Humboldt Broncos tribute centre and roadside memorial.
It would honour the 16 players who died and 13 injured in the 2018 crash, featuring memorabilia and mementos from the team on constant display.
There are also plans for a second ice surface and community use purposes as well.
The council estimates the cost to be in the $35-million range.
The funding would be through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).
“We are very optimistic that our application for ICIP funding will be received positively, and getting this application submitted marks a significant milestone along the path to beginning construction. There is, however, a lot of activity that will still need to occur over the next few months,” said city manager Joe Day.
Some of the steps will involve the city reaching out to existing users and potential new users to learn more about their needs and aspirations for the new facility, refining the concept plan for the facility, discussing operating and funding agreements with partners, and formalizing fundraising pledges.
“Clearly, our existing arena falls short of being able to provide the ice time requirements for the current users, which is a problem that will only get worse for our growing community if we don’t add another ice surface,” Mayor Michael Behiel said.
“The proposed facility not only addresses that concern but also develops spaces so that Humboldt can meet the demand for a wide range of events that are well-suited to our centralized location within the province.”
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City of Humboldt director of community and leisure services Michael Ulriksen says it will be a means to inspire athletes and a place to remember those who died or had their lives changed forever.
“It’s also something that’s far beyond our community. That was obvious after the crash played out, the story, the tragedy, it touched the nerves of people across the country and the world,” said Ulriksen.
Toby Boulet, whose son Logan died in the crash, says if this is a way for the city of Humboldt to move on and remember those affected and who were lost, he would visit the new tribute centre as much as possible and be there for the ribbon-cutting.
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“If they are going to take the time to make a tribute centre for my son and his teammates and make a memorial crash site, we need to be there to support the city of Humboldt,” Boulet said from his Lethbridge, Alta., home to Global News.
Ulriksen says it’s likely to take three to four months to find out about the funding approval and says if everything goes according to plan, the city expects shovels will be in the ground by spring of 2026 for the tribute centre.