NEWS
04/08/2018 21:42 EDT | Updated 04/11/2018 18:58 EDT

Humboldt Vigil For Bus Crash Victims Draws Hundreds

The community gathered to pay their respects to the 15 killed and 14 injured in a horrific bus crash.

UPDATE - April 11, 2018: The crash's death toll has risen to 16 since the vigil. Dayna Brons, 25, died in hospital from her injuries on April 11. She was the team's athletic therapist.

HUMBOLDT, Sask. — There were tears and hugs as hundreds gathered to remember 15 people who died when the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team bus crashed with a tractor trailer late last week.

People laid flowers in a circle around centre ice in the Saskatchewan town's rink as family and friends of players listened to prayers and hymns.

Jonathan Hayward/CANADIAN PRESS
Mourners comfort each other as people attend a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident in Humboldt, Sask. on April 8, 2018.

Pictures of the dead and injured were placed on stands at one end of the arena.

Nick Shumlanski, the only one of the 14 injured in the crash to be released from hospital, attended the vigil wearing his white, green and yellow team jersey, an obvious bruise under his left eye.

Jonathan Hayward/CANADIAN PRESS
Humboldt Broncos player Nick Shumlanski, who was released from hospital on Sunday, is comforted by a mourner during a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, in Humboldt, Sask. on April 8, 2018.

Team president Kevin Garinger acknowledged the shock and heartache in the room.

"I want to say to all the Humboldt Broncos families, billets, coaching staff, teammates, classmates, teachers, friends, community members: Not one of us is alone in our grief,'' he said.

"Continue to reach out. Reach out to one another for help and support.''

Garinger then read off a list of the injured and dead, his voice breaking toward the end.

"Today and for every day forward we are all Humboldt Broncos and we will be forever Humboldt Broncos strong.''

This light will only grow in time. And in time the darkness will be less.Kevin Garinger

He thanked Canadians and people around the world for their support.

"In all this darkness, a light has shone through," he said. "This light has come from the first responders, from the medical professionals, who have worked miracles and continue to work miracles for those members of our Broncos family. It comes from the remarkable community of Humboldt and the countless communities from across our country as people come together to offer their strength, their time and their kindness. This light has come from people across this globe reaching out to offer condolences and share a staggering level of generosity and support. This light will only grow in time. And in time the darkness will be less."

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The vigil took place the same night as Game 6 was scheduled to be played with the Nipawin Hawks in the Humboldt arena. There was a moment of silence at the time the game was supposed to start.

Jonathan Hayward/CANADIAN PRESS
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attends a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident in Humboldt, Sask. on April 8, 2018.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended the vigil along with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe.

Trudeau visited survivors of the crash in a Saskatoon hospital earlier in the day.

Family and friends also shared more stories Sunday of their memories of those lost and unbreakable bonds forged by a love of the hockey.

The intersection in east-central Saskatchewan where the crash happened reopened to traffic shortly before noon on Sunday.

RCMP officers from Nipawin, Sask., stopped to lay flowers there on behalf of the detachment. The Broncos had been heading to Nipawin for a playoff game when the crash happened.

Jonathan Hayward/CANADIAN PRESS
Mourners comfort each other as they look at photographs prior to a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident in Humboldt, Sask. on April 8, 2018.

While the wreckage had been removed, there were still playing cards and a broken DVD of the movie "Slap Shot'' scattered in the ditch. The Hanson brothers, popular characters in the movie, tweeted condolences to the Broncos on the weekend, as did other celebrities.

The Queen also issued a statement.

"Prince Philip and I were saddened to hear word of the crash,'' she said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost so much, with their families and with all Canadians who grieve with them at this difficult time.''

With files from Emma Paling, Chris Purdy, Colette Derworiz and Jonathan Hayward

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