Capitals' Stephenson brings the Stanley Cup to Humboldt
The Stanley Cup sits in the middle of a makeshift memorial to the victims of the Humboldt Broncos' bus crash.
Chandler Stephenson is from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and has trained with Kaleb Dahlgren and Brayden Camrud, two survivors of the Junior A Humboldt Broncos bus crash last spring.
So it made sense that Stephenson, a forward who helped the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup in June, would bring that hallowed trophy to Humboldt, Saskatchewan, to honor the 16 who died in the April 6 crash and the 13 who survived.
“It's like losing a family member when something like that happens — like a brother," Stephenson, who brought the Cup to Humboldt on Friday, told www.CBC.ca. "It's a terrible thing. You can't replace a life."
Dahlgren, who will play hockey with York University in Toronto this season, said Stephenson texted him after Washington won the Stanley Cup, saying: "You're coming to Humboldt with me."
A few other of Dahlgren's and Camrud’s Broncos teammates also made the trip to comfort the families of the players who lost their lives, Dahlgren said. They all met in a room at the event center Friday morning.
"I was holding back tears, for sure," said Dahlgren. "It's hard to see the families."
Chris Campoli, from the NHLPA, accompanied the Stanley Cup to Humboldt. He said all of the NHL players he talked to all wanted to make sure people in the community knew they weren't alone.
"Families are going through a process of grieving, and you just want to let them know that we're here," Campoli said. "They're supported, and we're thinking of them.
"Going forward, we want to be there. Those boys won't be forgotten."
The trophy was on public display from noon to 1:30 p.m. CT. People from all over Saskatchewan, as well as neighboring Alberta, came to Humboldt to take in the event.
Earlier, Stephenson brought the Cup to the site of the memorial for the 16 who perished.
Before the Cup arrived Friday, Humboldt Mayor Rob Muensch said: "When Chandler mentioned after he won the Cup that he was bringing it to Humboldt, I think everyone here was so appreciative of that. This will truly be a nice day for everybody."
Training camp for the 2018-19 edition of the Humboldt Broncos also began on Friday evening with between 75 and 80 players, a new coach – Northern Michigan product and former NHL defenseman Nathan Oystrick – and a new president, Jamie Brockman.
"The community is looking to move forward here," Brockman said. "This is another step today."
Oystrick is replacing Darcy Haugan, who died in the crash. “Darcy, by all accounts, was a great human being," Oystruck said. "I'm going to do my job, just try to work hard, and try to make everyone proud."
Humboldt’s regular season begins on Sept.12.
Dahlgren wished the new Broncos luck and acknowledged their responsibility.
"I just want them to have a great season in honor of everybody and for that crest on their chest," he said.