Photo credit Bob Marsh The community was shaken in February when the Princeton Posse’s team bus slid off the road and down an embankment on the way home from a game, resulting in injuries.

Humboldt crash hits home after B.C. hockey team’s close call

Humboldt “really could have been anybody” said the Princeton Posse’s coach

Communities across Canada – and around the world – are expressing shock, horror and grief, following the Saskatchewan bus crash that killed 15 members of a Junior A hockey club and injured another 14.

But the town of Princeton B.C. is also feeling something else – a renewed and profound sense of good fortune.

“It just makes you realize how lucky you are,” said Princeton Posse defenseman Morton Johnston.

Johnston received only minor injuries when the Junior B Posse’s team bus left the road and plunged down an embankment in the early hours of February 4, on the way home from a game in 100 Mile House.

Related: Bus full of Princeton Junior B hockey players slides off highway

Related: Body in Humboldt Broncos bus crash misidentified: justice ministry

“We were so lucky to get out of that with only a couple of scrapes and bruises. Everyone is just saying it’s a real tough situation, but we are lucky for who we have, who we still have with us.”

The driver of the Posse bus – who was credited with preventing a much more serious accident involving a rollover – was injured and taken to hospital, and others reported soft-tissue injuries.

“I launched over two seats…I landed on our starting goalie and he had a concussion and a separated shoulder.”

The deadly crash “really affects the whole hockey world,” said Johnston. “We’ve all been talking about it.”

Related: Stories of 15 killed in Humboldt Broncos bus crash

The president of the Princeton Posse hockey club, Randy McLean, said the accident highlights the need to put safety first.

“Our recent experience of our bus sliding off the road, and this horrific accident, will only stiffen our resolve to provide the safest and most reliable transportation for our players and coaches in the future. There are so many lives at stake,” he said.

“Our hearts go out to the Humboldt parents, players and their organization. No words can hope to sustain the dreadful loss they are experiencing – young men being taken in the prime of their lives from parents who gave so much of their [lives] for them. Every team in our league is contributing to the fund to try and help at this time.”

Related: B.C. hockey chaplain helps community grieve after Humboldt Broncos’ bus crash

Posse coach Mark McNaughton said the possibility of any kind of accident on the road is always in the back of a team’s mind.

“You think about it every time you are on the bus and obviously it could have been any team or organization that travels the way [teams] do in our country…It really could have been anybody else.”

McNaughton was in a hockey arena in Merritt when he learned of the Saskatchewan tragedy.

“It’s gut wrenching any time something like this happens. The initial thought is – knowing the size of the hockey community – the initial thought is ‘who do I know playing in Humboldt this year and who do I know on the staff.”

McNaughton communicated often with the Humboldt coach, who was killed. A player McNaughton was initially concerned for turned out to have been recently traded from the team.

“He wasn’t on the bus.”

Many Princeton families are promising on social media to participate in the BC-wide intiative to wear a sports jersey on Thursday April 12, in memory of the victims from Humboldt.

“Yes we will be wearing our jerseys on the 12th,” said Princeton hockey mom and volunteer Jaclyn Smith Whitecotton.

“And as a hockey family this has been stuck in our minds since it happened – such sadness for the hockey community all over Canada.

We are thankful that the bus accident with our very own Posse was not [like this.]”

Johnston said he and his entire family will don jerseys this Thursday as well.

“I hope everyone can show their support. It’s a really hard situation. I hope everyone sends their prayers and thoughts their way.”

To report a typo, email:
publisher@similkameenspotlight.com
.



andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Firefighters respond to roadside brush fire

Fire next to Highway 97 being brought under control.

Mixed martial arts event comes to Penticton

Xcessive Force Fighting Championship comes to the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre

Come dance between the lakes

Powwow Between the Lakes returns to Penticton Indian Band in August

Award-winning rockers The Glorious Sons to play Kelowna

Fresh off supporting the Rolling Stones in France, the Canadian band will play Prospera Place Nov. 5

B.C. Wine Info Centre feeling the impact of striking casino workers

The casino isn’t the only Penticton business feeling the brunt of the strike action

Trudeau asks transport minister to tackle Greyhound’s western pullout

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions in Greyhound Canada’s absence.

Wildfire remains uncontained near Kalamalka Lake

Lake Country - The fire started near Dee Lake, southwest of Coldstream yesterday

Crashes reach ‘all-time high’ across B.C.: ICBC

Auto insurer recorded more than 350,000 crashes n in 2017

Photo Gallery: The moon through an Okanagan lens

Photos of Sunday’s moon from Okanagan-Shuswap residents

Pressure on for ride hailing, bus options in B.C.

Premiers to press Ottawa for help replacing Greyhound service

Usain Bolt to make run at pro soccer in Australia

Olympic sprint great has long expressed his love of the game

Kelowna shooting victim remains in hospital

The woman injured in Friday’s shooting remains in hospital according to police

Duchess of Sussex wears dress by Calgary’s Nonie to Mandela exhibition

Nonie is believed to be the first Canadian based ready-to-wear designer for the duchess

Most Read