In what surely would have been a surreal experience for everyone involved, Steinbach Pistons stopped Monday (April 30) at the now infamous crash scene which claimed the lives of 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos last month.
The Pistons were enroute to Nipawin to play the Hawks in Game 3 of their ANAVET Cup best-of-seven series which resumed Tuesday. The winner of the ANAVET advances to the RCB Cup later this month.
“As I was standing at the location, there was a real heaviness in the pit of my stomach,” Pistons’ GM/Head Coach Paul Dyck said. “Being right there really brought close the reality of this tragedy. We had all watched the news on TV, watched the aftermath in Humboldt, participated in our (MJHL) memorial ceremony, but being right there was very, very powerful. Emotional.”
The Pistons had been on their bus for nearly nine hours when they arrived at the intersection of highways 35 and 355 which is located about 15 minutes south of Nipawin.
“Everyone on the bus was very aware we were getting close,” said Dyck. “I looked back (at the players) a few times as we were getting closer and I could see many of the guys really focused looking out the front window of our bus.
“We exited the bus and the guys were very quiet. Many of us had personal connections to people who had been killed and survived. We had a moment of silence, paid our respects and I could really feel this being a special moment.”
Describing the crash scene as a memorial, Dyck said there were several other people on site paying their respects to the Broncos.
“There was actually a gentleman who I knew,” said Dyck. “The man had lived in Nipawin, moved to Steinbach and then returned to Nipawin. He told me that he’s been to the crash scene about 10 times and just feels the need to return.”