NIPAWIN, Sask. — Details are emerging about the victims of a horrific crash in northeastern Saskatchewan involving a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team. Here is some information about them:
The team captain had played for the Broncos for just over four years and had served as team captain for the past 2 1/2 years, his father Kelly Schatz said.
The native of Allan, Sask., played centre and was named the league’s player of the month in February after earning points in eight of nine games. He was 20 years old.
Kelly Schatz said his family is seeking solace in one another.
“It’s hard,” Kelly Schatz said. “I’ve got four other kids and they’re here, which is nice.”
The Edmonton native’s death was confirmed by the Surrey Eagles, his former team in the British Columbia Hockey League.
The Broncos website says Joseph, who was 20 years old, was among the leading scorers in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoffs, playing on a line with Logan Schatz, another player who lost his life in the crash.
In a profile published on the team’s website in January, Schatz paid tribute to Joseph and fellow linemate Conner Lukan.
“I’ve really clicked with Joseph and Lukan. I can’t say enough good things about them,” Schatz said.
The head coach of the Humboldt Broncos was described in online tributes as a “great man” and amazing mentor to young players.
“He will always be a great man in our hearts,” his sister posted on Twitter under the name Debbie Jayne. “The tears just keep coming.”
Before becoming a coach, he played junior hockey in the league in the 1990s.
Steven Wilson, a radio play-by-play announcer in Weyburn, Sask., called Haugan “the classiest guy” in the league who always had time to chat.
He said the last time he saw Haugan, the coach was playing video games in his office with one of his two young sons.
“He was very dedicated to his family and at the same time he was a hockey guy.”
Wilson said Haugan’s wife, Christina George-Haugan, worked as the team’s office manager.
Bieber worked for Humboldt radio station CHBO and often travelled with the team as its play-by-play radio announcer.
Steven Wilson, a co-worker in Weyburn, Sask., said it was Bieber’s first season announcing for the team. He also covered morning news.
“He definitely had a natural talent,” said Wilson. “He was just passionate about sports.”
Wilson said he filled in a few times for Bieber because he was also busy coaching the Humbolt high school’s basketball and football teams.
The 21-year-old defenceman was one of the victims of the crash, his cousin Alicia Wack confirmed. He had played with the Broncos for two seasons.
Wack said her cousin made the best gingerbread houses and “absolutely lived and breathed hockey.”
“Stephen has always been an amazing person, son, big brother, and cousin. He is one of the most adventurous, ambitious, and loving people that I have ever been blessed to know,” she said in a Facebook post.
Hunter’s death was confirmed by his former team, the St. Albert Raiders in his Alberta hometown.
The organization’s president, Kevin Porter, said he heard the news from Hunter’s mother.
“He always had a smile on his face,” said Porter, who described Hunter as a “smart kid and a great hockey player” with a “great sense of humour.”
The Canadian Press