LATEST VIDEOS FROM CTV REGINA
SJHL playoffs to proceed in wake of crash
Flowers lie at centre ice as people gather for a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident in Humboldt, Sask. on Sunday, April 8, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Published Wednesday, April 11, 2018 2:09PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, April 11, 2018 7:02PM CST
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoffs will go ahead, despite the tragic bus crash that killed several members of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team last week.
Nipawin Hawks president Darren Opp confirmed the news to TSN on Wednesday afternoon, ahead of an announcement on the SJHL’s website.
Opp said his team, which will face the Estevan Bruins in a best-of-seven-series for the league championship, will be playing in honour of the Humboldt team.
“That’s a guarantee,” Opp told TSN. “Every player, I’m sure, is, in their own way, going to be carrying a little extra green and yellow.”
The decision to continue the playoffs was unanimous among the league’s 12 teams.
“We had a gruelling decision to make with respects on how we can pay tribute and honour the Humboldt Broncos,” SJHL president Bill Chow said in a statement. “On behalf of the Board of Governors, this intensive decision has been made and that decision is to carry through and finish off the 2017-2018 season. The league will play hockey.”
The Broncos team bus was travelling to Nipawin for a semifinal game against the Hawks on Friday evening when the bus was hit by a semi on Highway 35 near Tisdale.
Sixteen people, including two Broncos coaches and 10 players, have since died. Several others are still in hospital.
The driver of the semi was not injured.
Broncos president Kevin Garinger said he wanted the playoffs to go ahead.
"In my opinion, I think that hockey is important in our world, and it's part of the healing process," Garinger told The Canadian Press.
"I think it's important to recognize that it is part of the healing process for everyone involved in this tragedy."
The Hawks led the best-of-seven semifinal series 3-1 when the Broncos boarded the bus Friday to travel to Nipawin. Humboldt had lost 6-5 in triple overtime at home two days earlier.
Estevan closed out its semifinal series Friday against the Battlefords North Stars.
The first game between Estevan and Nipawin is set for Saturday.
--- with files from The Canadian Press