(The Canadian Press)

(The Canadian Press)

‘Did we win our game?’ Injured Humboldt Broncos player can’t recall bus crash

Kaleb Dahlgren was one of 13 players hurt last month when in horrific bus crash

Humboldt Bronco forward Kaleb Dahlgren remembers putting on his suit during the bus ride to a playoff game, returning to his seat and asking his friend and teammate, Nick Shumlanski, to point out his family’s house along the highway.

Other teammates joked that they weren’t interested.

“Nobody cares,” chirped goalie Parker Tobin, prompting the whole bus to burst out laughing.

Dahlgren retorted that he cared and everyone roared with laughter again.

“After that, I tossed on my headphones because I wanted to get into the zone,” he told The Canadian Press. “I put on my headphones and that’s the last thing I can remember.

“Four days later, I wake up in the hospital.”

Dahlgren, 20, was one of 13 players injured April 6 when the junior hockey team’s bus and a semi-trailer collided in rural Saskatchewan. Sixteen people — including 10 players — were killed.

His friend, Shumlanski, was one of the only passengers to walk away from the wreckage. Tobin died in the crash.

“I remember waking up and looking at my parents and saying, ‘Am I dreaming?’”

No, responded Mark and Anita Dahlgren.

“Did we win our game?” asked Kaleb, who suffered a fractured skull, a puncture wound in his head, a brain injury, two broken vertebrae in his neck and four others in his back.

They told him he didn’t play.

Confused, Dahlgren still thought he was injured in a hit during the game. His parents explained what actually happened.

“I had no clue, really, about anything outside the hospital,” he recalled this week. “It was really tough for me to grasp.”

READ MORE: Family of Humboldt Broncos player says GoFundMe should be split evenly

READ MORE: RCMP say cause of fatal Humboldt Broncos bus crash still unknown

He didn’t know about the people, including his coach, who were killed in the crash.

He didn’t know who else was injured.

He didn’t know that the world had rallied around the team, raising more than $15 million in a GoFundMe account and displaying support by putting hockey sticks on porches and wearing jerseys.

“It was a lot to take in.”

Dahlgren’s parents suggested he check his phone if he didn’t believe them, so he did.

“It was the real deal. It really hit home.”

Dahlgren was released from hospital April 27. As of the end of last month, four of his teammates remained in hospital in Saskatoon. Others had been moved to health-care facilities closer to their homes.

The family of Xavier Labelle released a statement Monday that said he is healing from his multiple injuries and continues his rehabilitation at Saskatoon City Hospital.

Dahlgren also has a long recovery ahead: six to eight weeks for the vertebrae to heal, three to six months for the brain injury, and another year or two before his brain fully recovers.

He said that before he was released from hospital, he had a visit from a first responder who treated him at the crash site.

“He said I was helping everybody,” said Dahlgren. “When he showed up on the scene, I was trying to make sure people were OK. I was going person to person just to see how they are doing.

“I have no recollection of that at all.”

Soon afterward, he was put on a stretcher and sent to hospital.

Doctors told Dahlgren that there’s still a possibility he’ll remember the crash one day, but he’s not entirely sure that he wants to.

“No, no, I think it’s a blessing that I don’t,” he said. “I’d be traumatized, for sure.

“In other ways, I’d like to remember because then I’d remember what I was saying to them. But I know all the people we lost in the accident. I know that they all knew how I felt about them.

“I loved them all.”

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

A rainbow shining on Kelowna General Hospital on May 12, 2020 International Nurses Day. (Steve Wensley - Prime Light Media)
New COVID cases trending down in Interior Health

24 new cases reported Thursday, Feb. 25, death at Kelowna General Hospital

(File Photo)
Crash causes delays on Coquihalla southbound, travel advisory issued

A vehicle incident between Merrit and Hope has caused major delays heading south

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson)
30 new COVID-19 cases, five more deaths in Interior Health

This brings the total number of cases to 7,271 since testing began

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

The future of the Cache Creek pool is still up in the air as council ponders different options and cost considerations. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
No decision about whether Cache Creek pool will open in 2021

Council still discussing pool’s future; no date set for public meeting about its fate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

The booklet roots present day activism in the history of racist policies, arguing the history must be acknowledged in order to change. (CCPA)
New resource dives into 150 years of racist policy in B.C.

Racist history must be acknowledged in order to change, authors say

The BC SPCA is offering many chances for school-aged kids to learn about animal welfare and other animal topics. Pictured here is Keith, a three-month-old kitten seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
From pets to wildlife, BC SPCA offers animal education programs geared to youth

BC SPCA offering virtual spring break camps, workshops and school presentations

Nanaimo-raised singer Allison Crowe with director Zack Snyder on the set of ‘Man of Steel’ in 2011. Crowe performs a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah in the upcoming director’s cut of ‘Justice League.’ (Photo courtesy Clay Enos)
B.C. musician records song for upcoming ‘Justice League’ film

Allison Crowe’s close connection to director led to rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah

Most Read