HUMBOLDT, Sask. (NEWS 1130) — Families and friends of the 16 Humboldt Broncos killed in a horrific bus crash gathered Saturday, marking the one year anniversary.
The service was led by the team’s pastor in an arena decorated with rows of yellow banners naming the bus’ 29 passengers. A moment of silence was held at 4:50 local time, the moment the team’s bus collided with a truck in a prairie intersection.
Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench says in the difficult time following the incident, the whole country came together to support the devastated families.
“As a community, we have lifted each other up with the help of love and support gathered from all over Canada and beyond,” he says. “We talked about being overcome by a darkness, but we also referred to a light at the end of the tunnel. I believe today, a year later, we are now starting to see a glimmer of that light.”
WATCH: Memorial for Humboldt Broncos players killed in crash
Pastor Shawn Randall also highlighted the resilience of the community during the difficult time, as they tried to rebuild.
“We’ve got to witness some horrific change, we’ve got to witness some incredible strength and change and healing,” he says. “It’s incredible how much can change in a year, or in a month or in a week, or a day, or even for that matter an instant, isn’t it. Some changes, almost unrecognizable it happens over so long a period of time, that some of it comes up and kicks us in the guts.”
The crash struck a chord with hockey-loving Canadians and moved people around the world to put hockey sticks on their front porches in solidarity with the Humboldt community.
More than $15 million was donated for the victims’ families.
Premier Scott Moe had said he would attend with his wife, and a spokeswoman from the Prime Minister’s Office said a video message would be played from Justin Trudeau.
“I have two children and, like any parent, I just can’t imagine what these parents are going through, go through, each and every day,” Moe said in an interview Friday.
Organizers are expecting about 3,000 people at the arena and are also preparing for many to visit the crash site at the crossing of Highways 35 and 335.
The Broncos were heading to a playoff game when the collision happened. Handmade crosses and a large collection of mementoes have been left at the intersection and there are plans for a permanent memorial there.
Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary was sentenced last month to eight years for dangerous driving causing death and bodily injury. Court heard he was an inexperienced driver travelling for the first time in the area.
The three prairie provinces have since made training mandatory for commercial truck drivers and an entry-level national training standard is to be in place next year.