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

Just Posted

Play revolves around teenagers in thought-provoking dialect

Chemainus Theatre’s I & You focuses on the development of an unlikely friendship

Stouffer in a class of her own without Proteau in the field

Fairwinds golfer captures Mount Brenton ladies’ golf tournament by 15 strokes

Tour de Rock cyclists gear up on training ride

Stops in Ladysmith and Chemainus part of the fanfare and preparations

Sculpture relocation plan works perfectly in Chemainus

Heavy lifting required to place Cline’s work into Heritage Square

Police seek tips in 2015 death of Brown

Four years has passed since the body of Penelakut Island teen was discovered

Groovy wedding a throwback to Woodstock ‘69

Couple hosts themed wedding 50 years after legendary festival

Clean the house, prep for your next trip: Tips to nix the post-vacation blues

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

Vancouver Island senior found safe with help from six search and rescue teams

Wayne Strilesky found safe in thick brush in north Nanaimo

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

Most Read