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

Josie Osborne and her campaign team watch the results roll in during B.C.’s provincial election on Saturday night. (Photo courtesy of Josie Osborne)
Tofino expected to wait until New Year to elect new mayor after Josie Osborne wins provincial seat

Josie Osborne is the West Coast’s new MLA and that means Tofino needs a new mayor.

Dylan Hillis preparing collagen samples from ancient dog bones at the UBC musuem of Anthropology. Photo: Eric Guiry
Ancient ‘woolly dog’ ate mostly fish, new University of Victoria study finds

Study gives researchers better understanding of human-dog relationships on Tsehaht First Nation

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Crew transport bus at the Trans Mountain pipeline project work site in Burnaby, March 2020. (Trans Mountain)
Check your workplace COVID-19 safety plans, Dr. Henry urges

Masks in public spaces, distance in lunchrooms for winter

B.C.’s Court of Appeal is in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Judgment reserved in Surrey Six slayings appeals

Six men were killed in suite 1505 of the Balmoral Tower in Whalley on Oct. 19, 2007

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Kelowna City Hall has been vandalized overnight. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna City Hall hit by anti-pandemic vandalism

Graffiti condemning the virus appears overnight on City Hall

FILE – A woman smokes a marijuana joint at a “Wake and Bake” legalized marijuana event in Toronto on October 17, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov
Home nurse visits could play big role in reducing cannabis use, smoking in young mothers

The program, dubbed the BC Healthy Connections Project, involves public health nursing home visits

Candice Woloshyn prepares her flower beds for the next season at her ‘Dirty Girl Flowers’ farm in Merville. Despite the pandemic, Woloshyn was able to sustain her homegrown business as community members opted for regular deliveries of fresh cut flowers. Photo by Binny Paul/ Campbell River Mirror.
Vancouver Island flower farmers were blooming as the pandemic wilted everything else

Floriculturists saw increased subscriptions as fresh flowers became a ‘sight for sore eyes’ during isolation

Most Read