Xavier Labelle of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team attends a news conference in Las Vegas on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, John Locher

Humboldt Broncos player joins his hometown Saskatoon Blades as coaching assistant

One of the Humboldt Broncos hockey players injured in a bus crash that killed 16 people has joined his hometown Western Hockey League team as an assistant to the coaches.

One of the Humboldt Broncos hockey players injured in a bus crash that killed 16 people has joined his hometown Western Hockey League team as an assistant to the coaches.

The Saskatoon Blades say in a news release that Xavier Labelle, who is 18, has joined the major junior team as a hockey operations assistant.

Labelle suffered a fractured skill, a concussion, internal bleeding and 20 broken bones on April 6 when a transport truck collided with the junior hockey team’s bus in Saskatchewan.

Ten of his teammates died, and he was one of the 13 who were injured.

The team says Labelle, who spent the past two seasons with the Broncos, had attended Blades training camp in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

He graduated from high school at the end of June and joined the Blades hockey operations staff prior to this year’s training camp in August.

It was initially thought that Labelle had died in the crash, but it turned out he had been mixed up with another player.

His family has said they hold no ill will about the error.

In the Blades news release, Labelle said he was approached by the team when he was still in hospital recovering from the crash.

“Of course, I jumped at the opportunity,” he said. “I thought it would be great to remain involved in the game. I never really thought about coaching but being here around the staff and seeing what goes into this side of a team, it’s definitely piqued my interest.”

The team says Labelle will start by helping coaches with reviewing game footage, but he’s expected to take on more responsibilities going forward.

“I just started thinking about the boy and what we could do for him, and how we could help him,” said Blades general manager Colin Priestner. “We discussed the different opportunities, where his comfort level was, and it became quite clear he wanted to remain involved in the hockey operations.”

The team says Labelle will also have a role in the Blades’ pre-game tribute to the Broncos in their home opener on Sept. 22.

Related: Humboldt Broncos emerge from tragedy

Related: Humboldt Broncos player released from hospital

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Cuteness overload: duckling thinks dog is its mom

Photographer Fiona Hook shot a cute video after noticing one of her ducklings had taken a special liking to her dog.

Fire near Vernon airport “not a concern”

Vernon firefighters attended the scene and found a resident performing a controlled burn

Keep an eye on this up-and-coming Vernon director

15-year-old Bowen O’Brien celebrates filmmaking successes.

Visiting author gets personal

Keri Lefave will be reading from her book, Unfinished, at the Vernon Public Library on Saturday, April 27th at 11 a.m.

Vernon poet launches new book

Kerry Gilbert’s new work, a cautionary tale through the guise of little red riding hood, will launch at the Caetani Cultural Centre’s Studio Gallery April 26 at 7 p.m.

Update: Fire destroys Peachland home on Somerset Avenue

Crews are still on scene pumping water onto the blaze

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Summerland student examines effects of sound

Science fair project will go to national competition in New Brunswick

Sons of Anarchy’s Kim Coates stops by Okanagan café

Coates was spotted in West Bank’s Kekuli Café on April 20

B.C. women make 2,200 cabbage rolls for charity

The money raised was donated to former NHL player Aaron Volpatti, who is raising funds for ALS

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

B.C. mountain biker sent home from hospital twice, despite broken vertebrae

Released in Maple Ridge to go home with three fractured vertebrae

Seven tips to travel safely this Easter long weekend

An average of three people are killed, and hundreds more injured, each Easter long weekend in B.C.

Most Read