NHL mourns in wake of deadly bus crash


A horrific bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team sent shockwaves through the NHL on Saturday.

The crash killed at least 15 people, including the Broncos' coach and team captain. The team comprises 16- to 20-year-olds and was headed to a playoff game in Saskatchewan when a semi-truck slammed into its bus.

Players and coaches across the NHL spoke emotionally about the incident.

"The whole hockey community mourns today," Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice said before his team hosted the Chicago Blackhawks in the regular-season finale for both teams. "It's such a horrific situation that hits so very close to home for all of us. We spent our lives at that age riding buses to hockey games."

As a tribute, the Jets and Blackhawks announced that every player would wear "BRONCOS" on the back of their jerseys Saturday night instead of their last names. The gesture "is meant to symbolize the unity and support of our hockey communities coming together as one for the Humboldt Broncos' family," the Jets organization stated in a news release.

Both the Jets and Blackhawks, along with the NHL, also said they would donate $25,000 apiece to the Humboldt Broncos Hockey Club. All proceeds raised from the game's 50-50 raffle also will be sent to the team.

Related: Photos from the scene

A moment of silence will proceed the opening faceoff.

"No one can imagine what those parents are going through," Maurice said.

Other teams also were devastated by the news of the tragedy. Colorado Avalanche coach Jared Bednar was raised in Humboldt, a small town of 6,000 in Saskatchewan.

"That's a tough day. That's my hometown," Bednar said to the Avalanche's official website. "I grew up in Humboldt. My dad was stationed there twice. The bulk of my childhood was in that city. I grew up as a young guy dreaming to play for the Broncos and then had the opportunity as a teenager. I know what that team means to that town."

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock choked back tears as he discussed the crash. Babcock is from nearby Saskatoon.

"The hockey world is an unbelievable world," Babcock said. "You can't make up for loss. You just can't. It's going to rip the heart out of your chest. We pray for those families and think about them.

"I don't know what else you say. Horrific, horrific accident. Tough day."

--Field Level Media