Sports writer Callie Hummel says the Timberwolves try to balance putting human lives first and continuing their season amid a tragic accident.
On Oct. 24 a junior hockey team from Miramichi, New Brunswick, Canada, the Timberwolves, were driving to a game in Fredericton when they collided with a car on Highway 8 outside of the small town of Astle, New Brunswick. The driver of the car, a 32-year-old woman was killed in the crash and an autopsy is being performed to determine the exact cause of her death. There were no other passengers in the car with her.
The communications department of the Timberwolves is giving limited information on which players were on the bus and the details of how the crash happened. Pictures of the aftermath of the crash show the bus off the road, which appears to be just inches away from a cluster of trees which would have caused more damage.
Luckily, the bus stayed upright as it drove off road, so no players on board were seriously injured. The Timberwolves released that the team and staff members only sustained “limited injuries.” Following the crash, the highway was shut down for a few hours as police investigated the scene. Members of the Astle community made their way out to the crash site along with first responders, bringing food and drinks to the team trying to comfort them.
The game in Fredericton against the Red Wings was cancelled and grief counselors were brought in for the players. This crash happened just three years after the Humboldt junior’s team, the Broncos, were involved in a fatal bus crash killing 16 people and leaving 13 injured which leaves an extra sense of panic in the air of the Timberwolves players and families.
Scott Woof, the chaplain of the Fredericton Red Wings, alludes to the Bronco bus’ crash, saying, “What happened with Humboldt a few years back and with what could have happened yesterday for them. Clearly someone lost their life in this accident so, that is tragic.”
Many other hockey teams had staff members like Woof made statements in support of the Timberwolves and the entire hockey community was very empathetic of the team throughout their incident. Many organizations, in and out of the hockey community, are offering their mental health support resources as well. The game against Fredericton was simply postponed for another time with no repercussions towards the Timberwolves, which are usually present when a team has to cancel a game. At this time, the Timberwolves are not suffering any consequences from the other driver’s family.
Although the crash undoubtedly shook up the team, the Timberwolves resumed their games shortly after the crash on Oct. 28 against the Pictou County Weeks Crushers with a 3-0 win. The team is currently fifth in the EastLink North division. A Timberwolves player, Kevyn Brassard, was also named one of the players of the week by the Maritime Junior Hockey League.
Even though the team started their play very soon after the crash happened, coaches and staff are trying to continuously push that, “At the end of the day, hockey is a game. Life isn’t a game. We want to keep that perspective. You never want that to come at the expense of someone losing their life.”