Life in Humboldt was forever changed on April 6, 2018.
The city’s beloved Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Broncos were just 20 minutes away from arriving in Nipawin, where they were set to face the Hawks in Game 5 of their semi-final playoff series, when their team bus collided with a semi truck at the intersection of Highway 35 and Highway 335.
The crash left 16 people dead and 13 people injured, two of whom were still in critical condition as of Thursday afternoon.
Friday marks two weeks since the tragedy.
“It’s been a trying time,” Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench told 650 CKOM.
Funerals have been held in the community through the past eight days. The memorial services have included four area-born members of the team.
The last funeral for assistant coach Mark Cross is scheduled for Saturday in his hometown of Strasbourg, Sask.
Monday will see many people start returning to day-to-day life, but Muench said it won’t be the same.
“It’s not going to be normal, at least for the foreseeable future.”
The mayor said a community discussion is planned to figure out a made-in-Humboldt solution to what a “new normal” will be.
“We’ll use what the world has offered us to get through this, but we have to find our way out on our own terms,” he said.
Muench said he wasn’t surprised by his city’s reaction to the tragedy, with many businesses collecting money for the families of victims.
He was, however, shocked by the outpouring of support from around the world. A GoFundMe account set up for the families raised $15.2 million over 12 days, while area flower shops were inundated with orders from international well-wishers.
He thinks the support emerged because of how relatable the tragedy was.
“Everybody’s put kids on a bus, sending them out to play sports all over the world,” he said.
Muench said the hope is to hold an event to mark the community’s move forward into their new life as a city.
He said it will take a long time for Humboldt to heal though. “One step at a time,” he said.
“It started out as being each day, now it will be each week. Hopefully that will be each month and each year eventually.”