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Canada Crash: Humboldt Broncos Bus Dead Mourned At Vigil
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Canada Crash: Humboldt Broncos Bus Dead Mourned At Vigil

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Canada Crash
Flowers are placed on the ice as people gather together for a vigil taking place at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos
A community in a rural part of Canada is still struggling with the loss of 15 of their own that found consolation on Sunday in the single location that has always been the beating heart of the town - the hockey rink in it's hometown.

Humboldt, Saskatchwan's population - around 6,000 strong - brimmed as mourners got together for an evening of hymns and prayer in memory of the Humboldt Broncos ice hockey youth and the supporting staff of whom were killed when the bus rammed against a semi-trailer on Friday.

At the vigil there was an overflow crowd, with the family of the Broncos players joined by the ice hockey community and dignitaries in Canada, including Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister.

The majority of mourners in green-and-yellow Broncos jerseys, came out of the Elgar Petersen Arena into the observatory areas at the high school and curling rink.

At 19:00 local time there was a minute of silence when the team would have taken to the ice.

Sean Brandow, the team's chaplain, recalled appearing at the scene of the devastating crash, not too long after the collision.

Speaking through tears, the pastor said "I walked up to a scene I never want to see again, to sounds I never want to hear again," 

"Then to go to the hospital and walk around and just hear groaning and panic and fear and distress and pain - just nothing but darkness."

Over the last 48 hours, it has been faith and scripture that have helped him, he said.

The burly chaplain stated, "You know how Jesus was who he said he was? His scars," 

"Can we heal? Yes. Will there be scars? Yes."

The team is a revered institution in Humboldt that has taken home around two national championships in the remaining 15 years.

The prior National Hockey League (NHL) player, Sheldon Kennedy, said to the BBC, "To keep a junior team in a small little city like Humboldt - it takes all the community to be involved, it takes all the businesses to be involved. These are the heartbeats of these little towns and cities," 

"These players are the heroes in these communities. They are your soccer stars, your Manchester United stars in these small communities."

Before they joined the major leagues, Kennedy played hockey for juniors in Saskatchewan.

Not dissimilar to the Broncos players that were on their way to a play-off game in opposition to the rival Nipawin Hawks, and alike many other of the junior teams playing "Canada's game", there were long hours in which, in the province, he spent moving along the abandoned winter highways.

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