Hockey players Derek Patter (left) and Brayden Camrud (right) are shown in a scene from the new CBC documentary “Humboldt: The New Season.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CBC

Humboldt survivors featured in documentary want to make their ‘angels’ proud

‘Humboldt: The New Season’ to air Thursday, Aug. 15, on CBC

More than a year after a deadly bus crash that devastated their junior hockey team and the nation, Tyler Smith and Kaleb Dahlgren are focusing on healing and building their futures.

Airing Thursday on CBC-TV, the documentary “Humboldt: The New Season” shows the two crash survivors and others as they try to recover and move forward from the trauma of April 6, 2018, when a semi-trailer unit collided with the Humboldt Broncos team bus in rural Saskatchewan. Sixteen people died and 13 were injured.

“It’s impossible to try to fully heal or get that closure … but now it’s more or less doing the proper things and seeking out help when you need and not forcing it,” says Smith, 21, who returned to play with the team for a bit last season and then decided to go home to focus on himself and his loved ones in Leduc, Alta. This fall, he’ll enter the radio and television program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

“Controlling the things I can control has helped me tremendously throughout this process,” adds Saskatoon-based Dahlgren, 22, who is undergoing craniosacral therapy for a third-degree brain injury he suffered in the crash. He’s also trying to get medical clearance to play in a hockey game again, and will continue his business commerce degree at Toronto’s York University this fall with the goal of possibly shifting into chiropractic studies.

“Because I can’t control the accident, I can’t control injuries I had or people that aren’t here,” Dahlgren says. ”All I can control is myself and how I perceive it and my actions.”

Kevin Eastwood and Lucas Frison wrote and directed “Humboldt: The New Season,” which follows five of the survivors and some of the families of the deceased as the 2018-2019 hockey season unfolds with a different coaching staff and some new teammates. The film also touches on the trial and sentencing of the truck driver who caused the crash.

Watch the trailer here

Frison says late Broncos’ assistant coach Mark Cross, who was one of the victims, was his best friend growing up. They were “inseparable” since they were about three and played hockey together, so once the grief and shock of the tragedy wore off, Frison knew his next project had to commemorate Cross in some way.

“I guess it would be part of the healing process for me,” Frison says in a phone interview from Regina, noting Cross’s father introduced him to the Broncos families.

“We didn’t want to be just another camera to the players and the families. My friendship, my connection with Mark, that helped us build relationships. And ultimately, the relationship building — that was a very rewarding part of this project, getting to know so many of these really courageous people.”

Frison started rolling cameras in August 2018 and shot throughout the team’s entire season, as some players returned. Smith played 10 games before moving back home to Alberta to continue his healing.

“I think for my healing and for my growth, it was a good thing to go back and prove to myself that I could still do it,” Smith says.

“Now I necessarily don’t have to live with the regret of not knowing if I would have went back. So I’m really proud that I went back and I hope my angels and everybody else is really proud.”

Smith says his “angels” are the 16 who died in the crash.

One year later: Memorial held for Humboldt Broncos crash victims

“I know my angels would really want me to live my life like they know I would want to,” he adds, referring to his choice to leave the team. ”So it’s now just focusing on what I want to do and being with family and friends. Taking each day one step at a time and trying to live for them as well.”

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Sunflower Highway, art initiative to connect Fraser Valley, Thompson-Nicola and Okanagan

Sunflowers made out of reclaimed materials will be installed on public art trails

Residents warned to stay away from flooded Cache Creek park

Water might look shallow, but is several feet deep in places

Ashcroft receives grants to get new hot tub and lift station

‘The hot tub is a major benefit for many residents’

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Most Read