It is an emotional week for residents of Humboldt.
A sold-out crowd will take in game one of the 2018-19 junior hockey season when the Humboldt Broncos host the Nipawin Hawks Wednesday night.
“The community, I think, is in good spirits and looking forward to watching some hockey,” said Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench.
People from all over, including some 1970’s Broncos’ alumni, will be there to cheer on the team as it moves forward from the tragedy on April 6.
The Broncos were on their way to play the Nipawin Hawks when their bus crashed into a semi at a rural intersection north of Tisdale.
Sixteen people were killed. Thirteen 13 players were injured.
Two of the survivors — Derek Patter and Brayden Camrud — are back with the team this season and will play in Wednesday’s game.
There will be a post-game ceremony to pay tribute to the victims of the tragedy.
“This game is going to be kind of a turning point again for the team and another step in the process our community is going through,” Muench said.
“We’re kind of looking forward to … getting back to a new normal.”
Focusing on hockey instead of the tragedy is what resident Mark Doepker hopes this game brings.
“I think a lot of people will be excited to just get the season underway, and just kind of move on.”
“It will kind of be part of the healing process,” he said.
The owner of Universal Sports has been a Broncos fan since the team’s first season in 1970.
Doepker was asked what he expects in the stands come Wednesday night when the community welcomes the team back.
“A lot of excitement, a lot of tension. A lot of emotion, a tremendous amount of emotion.”
A special edition of the Green Zone will air on 650 CKOM and 980 CJME Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. TSN will broadcast the game live from the Elgar Petersen Arena starting at 5:30 p.m. CST.
-With files from Chris Vandenbreekel