The Humboldt Broncos were doing something they loved and had done so many times before, riding a bus to another small prairie town, the excitement and anticipation of a playoff hockey game hanging in the air, the players building bonds and memories with each mile traveled. Three of 14 the injured were in critical condition as of Saturday morning.
The bus was carrying the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
Jaxon Joseph, 20 - whose father Chris Joseph is a retired National Hockey League player - was on board a Saskatchewan junior team's bus that crashed Friday after a collision with a transport truck.
The team was on its way to play in Game 5 of a semi-final against the Nipawin Hawks. "I've got four other kids and they're here, which is nice".
An online fundraising page set up by a woman listed on social media as a Humboldt resident raised almost CAN$40,000 (US$31,000) in a matter of hours.
It is every parent's worst nightmare. But the president of the Nipawin Hawks, who were scheduled to be the Broncos' opponent Friday, told the Star-Phoenix the truck had "t-boned" the bus.
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I can not imagine what these parents are going through, and my heart goes out to everyone affected by this awful tragedy, in the Humboldt community and beyond.
"This team has been an incredible rock in this community", he said.
Garinger said all the team can do now is help the players and their families however they can.
It is a horrific tragedy that has sent shockwaves through the hockey community.
An online fundraising campaign set up for family members of the team had raised more than $220,000 by early Saturday.
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe retweeted a photo of one player who survived, Derek Patter, lying side-by-side with two other injured players on hospital beds, clasping each others' hands in support. "We know that the coroner and their office need to do their work and let families know".
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D'Andrea has covered hockey in and around Prince Albert for over six years and knows a number of names on the roster who could have been on the bus. "The other road at that intersection, 335 ... that was just kind of a country road when I was playing in the league".
The bus was carrying the Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. The Humboldt group took the Swift Current Broncos up on their offer of an affiliation between the Western Canada Hockey League Broncos and a new junior-A club.
"Yeah, especially for me, being it's not far from where I played and where I spent hundreds of hours on the bus myself, going to games, coming from games in the middle of the night, things like that", the 23-year-old said.
"Thoughts going out to everyone affected by the Humboldt Broncos bus crash tonight", Severson wrote on Twitter. "From a grieving province, thank you to first responders and medical professionals for courageous response under the most hard circumstances imaginable".
Coach Darcy Haugan, captain Logan Schatz, 20, and players Adam Herold, 16, Logan Hunter, 18, Jaxon Joseph, 20, and Stephen Wack, 21 as well as play-by-play radio announcer Tyler Bieber, who was travelling with the team, has also been confirmed dead.
"There have been multiple fatalities, our whole community is in shock", said Kevin Garinger, the president of the Humboldt Broncos.
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