Condolence Motion
(9 April 2018)

From Hansard - 9 April 2018

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Humboldt Broncos Bus Tragedy

Hon. Mr. Stewart: — Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, my remarks will be principally directed to those most affected by last Friday’s tragedy involving the Humboldt Broncos team bus, that is the families, loved ones, and friends of the deceased, the survivors of the incident, the Humboldt Broncos hockey organization, and the community of Humboldt and surrounding areas.

I played a fair amount of hockey in my day, but that’s not important. I think what I did contribute a little more was coaching young people. And I remember I never . . . I guess when the kids were younger we took some bus trips, but a lot of the travel was in private vehicles. And I remember I always, when they were getting into those vehicles, I always felt a shudder of apprehension sending them out into the Saskatchewan winters on Saskatchewan road conditions, usually, sometimes both directions in the dark, and always at least one. But we were . . . Like most rural Saskatchewan hockey travel, we didn’t ever have any major incidents, and we were so fortunate.

As one of the older members in this honourable Assembly, I have naturally experienced the loss of family and close friends, and I don’t think I’m very good at it or likely ever will be. But I know that when tragedy strikes in this province, we become like a giant small town and we all grieve. To those of you closest to the victims, please know that the whole province and far beyond is grieving for you and your loss, and I hope you can take strength from that.

I’m so proud of the professional players and former players and coaches, even the president of the NHL [National Hockey League], who have voluntarily poured out their hearts to support you. We’ve seen NHL players with Broncos proudly displayed on the back of their jerseys where their own names would normally go. The hockey fraternity across North America understands and they are there for you, and I hope you can take strength from that.

Outside of hockey we’ve seen the Saskatchewan Rush and various professional baseball players sharing their support for you, and I hope you can take strength from that. The Queen and the Pope have offered heartfelt condolences, and I hope that you can take strength from that.

And what I’ve learned about grieving is that everybody does it differently and at a different pace. We all need to be understanding of the grieving process for those closest to the tragedy and to always be willing to talk or hold a hand or just be there for company when that’s what’s needed. Grieving is not a time-limited process. Our support needs to be ongoing.

I think the Broncos chaplain said it well last night in Humboldt when he said words to the effect that the wounds will eventually heal but the scars will remain. There are times that will always be more difficult for families, loved ones, and friends, including the survivors, like birthdays and special occasions.

I know that Saskatchewan people will always be there for you, any time that you signal that you need them. Please reach out to them when you feel that you need to, as you will in the weeks, months, and years to come.

It’s rare that we are ever in total agreement in this great room where I stand and make these insignificant and inadequate and meagre remarks today, but today we truly are united in our thoughts and prayers for you, and I hope that you can take some strength from that.

I’m sure that everyone in this province who has ever prayed has said a prayer for you and for those close to you that were in that bus. God bless you and those who we all lost on Friday.

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