The coach of a junior hockey team whose bus crash scarred the nation was honoured this weekend with a bronze statue that was unveiled in the Alberta town where he grew up and coached another team to five league championships. A statue dedicated to Humboldt Broncos coach Darcy Haugan is seen in Peace River, Alta., in a Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, handout photo. Haugan, 42, was one of 16 people who died after the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team’s bus and a semi collided at a crossroads in Saskatchewan on April 6, 2018. Thirteen others were injured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Albert Cooper, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Alberta town unveils statue of coach who died in Humboldt Broncos bus crash

Darcy Haugan was one of 16 people who died after the Humboldt Broncos team’s bus and a semi collided

A junior hockey coach who was killed in a deadly bus crash that scarred the nation was honoured this weekend with a bronze statue unveiled in the Alberta town where he grew up and coached another team to five league championships.

Darcy Haugan, 42, was one of 16 people who died after the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team’s bus and a semi collided at a crossroads in Saskatchewan on April 6, 2018.

Haugan was remembered over the weekend as a coach who pushed his players to bring their very best to the rink and to their personal lives.

“We were all devastated when we heard the news in April 2018. Like many in our community, it was hard to digest, hard to comprehend what had happened,” town councillor Orren Ford said at the unveiling of the statue on Saturday in Peace River, Alta., occasionally wiping away tears.

Thirteen others were injured were injured in the crash.

Prior to joining the Broncos, Haugan, who was a devout Christian, coached the North Peace Navigators in the Northwest Junior Hockey League for 12 seasons.

Navigators president Albert Cooper said discussions began about how they wanted to remember Haugan about a month after the tragedy. Ideas like naming a building or a street after Haugan were also considered.

“”I actually felt a statue would be unique — a nice addition for our town,” he said in an interview Sunday.

The statue, which is three-quarters life-size and weighs over 190 kilograms, was cast by Don and Shirley Begg of Studio West in Cochrane.

The bronzesmiths’ body of past work touches on themes of tragedy and hockey. It includes a sculpture honouring four RCMP officers who were gunned down in Mayerthorpe, Alta., in 2005, as well as helping with sculpting the Wayne Gretzky statue that now stands outside Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Don Begg said the artists wanted to illustrate Haugan’s coaching philosophy with the piece.

“He wanted them to be not just good hockey players, but good community people,” Begg said of Haugan when reached by phone on Sunday.

“That’s what we were trying to portray in him.”

Attendance at the ceremony outside Baytex Energy Centre had to be limited due to COVID-19, although his widow, Christine, sons Carson and Jackson, and parents were there.

“I can tell you without a doubt, Darcy would be in complete disbelief seeing this,” Christina Haugan told the small crowd.

Ford said Haugan saw his players as “full and complete men, not just as hockey players.”

“He made it his mission to mold them into men he knew they could be — men who cared about their family and their community in addition to their team and the sport of hockey,” he said.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Humboldt Broncos

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Community Futures North Okanagan hosted free virtual valley-wide seminars during Small Business Week. (Contributed)
Organization equips Okanagan businesses with pandemic tools

Community Futures sees success in its all-virtual Small Business Week seminar series

Dr. Steve Piper, owner of Monashee Health Collective, is leading an applied research project to develop an app that will help health professionals connect with patients in real time. (Contributed).
Okanagan researchers developing app to connect patients with practitioners virtually

The prototype holistic wellness app will be tested and launched over the next six months

Two have been taken to hospital following a vehicle crash north of Vernon on Highway 97 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Crash north of Vernon causes Highway 97 traffic delays

Emergency crews respond to two-vehicle incident near Swan Lake; occupants taken to hospital

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. The British Columbia provincial election will be on Oct. 24. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Greater Vernon Chamber reacts to provincial election

Chamber president congratulates NDP, lists the issues the chamber will advocate for

There has been COVID-19 exposures at two elementary schools in District 42. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 24 additional COVID-19 cases

This includes three school exposures in Kelowna

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Brennan Phillips - Western News)
UPDATE: Flames doused for second time at fatal Penticton apartment fire

The Elm Ave. building first caught fire around 4 a.m., killing two people and displacing dozens

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

(Submitted)
Penticton apartment fire claims two lives

An apartment on Elm Avenue went up in flames Tuesday morning

A Summerland woman has set up an online fundraiser to provide backpacks to those being released from correctional facilities.(ca.gofundme.com)
Summerland woman raising money for backpack program

Backpacks will be distributed to those being released from correctional facilities

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
15 cases of COVID-19 tied to Kelowna Francophone school outbreak

Three other schools in Kelowna are also dealing with potential exposure events

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A four-vehicle accident on the Bruhn Bridge in Sicamous destroyed two cars and a section of bridge guardrail but remarkably injured no one. (Sicamous RCMP Image)
Sicamous’ Bruhn Bridge site of two collisions

Although a total of five vehicles were involved, no one was injured

Most Read