On Friday night, the Humboldt Broncos made their first trip to Nipawin since the April 6th bus crash that took 16 lives.
The Broncos were on route to play the Nipawin Hawks that day when their team bus collided with a transport trailer at the Armley Corner.
Humboldt chose the Hawks to open the season, and Hawks head coach and general manager Doug Johnson says his team has handled the spotlight well.
"We're part of it, but we're just a minor part of it. I thought the players have done a phenomenal job, where in today's day and age everybody talks about how self-centered this generation is, but we haven't seen any of that. Also, it's such a huge story, it's such a huge tragedy, that I think everybody gets it. It's about healing, it's about moving forward, it's about Humboldt jumping in. The guys have handled it well, we just focus on the things we can control, and we can't control that." Johnson said.
As much as it was about moving forward, Nipawin reminisced about last season's Canalta Cup winning season in the team's home opener Friday at the Centennial Arena.
"Tonight is more of a celebration for the Nipawin Hawks because we're going to show some banners, hand out some rings, and introduce our fans to the new players. We understand that it's Humboldt's first [road] game, but we've been there, we've done that," Hawks head coach and general manager Doug Johnson said. "We just need to celebrate what we did last year, and let our fans know we have a pretty good group again this year."
Hawks forward and Tisdale native Jordan Simoneau says the summer was tough being so close to the tragedy, and with Wednesday's game being under the spotlight.
"It's been pretty difficult at times but, being with all of the guys in the room again, and getting back to playing hockey it's been nice to get things rolling again to kind of get our minds elsewhere." Simoneau said.
Hawks 4 Broncos 0
As for the game on the ice on Friday, it was all Hawks.
The defending champions used a three goal second period to vault them to the 4-0 win. They also beat the Broncos 2-1 on Wednesday in Humboldt, starting their season at 2-0.
Things were 0-0 after one period, but Christian Bosa would open the scoring in period two, followed by a pair of markers from Arik Breton who also assisted on the first goal of the night.
Carson Erhardt added an insurance marker in the 3rd, while Declan Hobbs stopped 49 shots in the shutout win.
Dane Dow stopped 23 shots that came his way for the Humboldt Broncos.
The Broncos next opponent will be the Notre Dame Hounds on Wednesday, while the Hawks are set to visit Flin Flon on Friday.
On Twitter: @matbarrett6
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