People gather at a memorial set up on the stairs that lead to Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt, Sask. on Saturday. (Liam Richards/The Canadian Press)

EDITORIAL: Humboldt crash a stark reminder of potential road risks

Greater Victoria junior hockey teams log many miles in a season on the buses

People across our nation are still grieving and emerging from the shock of learning of the devastating tragedy of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

In junior hockey bus trips are a way of life; the best, most cost-effective way to transport players, coaches and other team officials to out-of-town games. And by and large, they are a safe way to do so.

The exact reason as to why the the bus carrying this Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team collided with a transport truck may never be known. Sadly the bus driver, Glen Doerksen, was among those who died.

Here in Greater Victoria, six junior teams use bus transport to get to road games through the season.

For players, coaches and officials with the Victoria Royals, Victoria Grizzlies, Victoria Cougars, Westshore Wolves, Saanich Braves and Peninsula Panthers, the road trips are a way of bonding and team building, a chance for them to come together as a unit as they represent their cities and districts.

They are important to players’ development on the ice and as young men.

Few who climb on the buses ever question the risks involved in travelling large distances to get to games. Trust is put in the driver to navigate the roads and potential hazards in their best interest, and in the vast majority of cases, teams get there, play the game and return home safely.

Parents and loved ones of those who travel for games may harbour some worries, but the safety track record of bus transportation is excellent and helps quell any concerns. A crash like this, however, is a stark reminder to hockey parents and all of us that accidents will happen and sometimes they come with horrific consequences.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau perhaps captured this notion best when he said, “This is every parent’s worst nightmare. No one should ever have to see their child leave to play the sport they love and never come back.”

No doubt more young hockey players across Canada are being hugged this week before they head out on the road.

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