Alberta town unveils statue of coach who died in Humboldt Broncos bus crash

Alberta town unveils statue of coach who died in Humboldt Broncos bus crash

PEACE RIVER, Alta. — A junior hockey coach who was killed in a deadly bus crash that scarred the nation was honoured this weekend with a bronze statue unveiled in the Alberta town where he grew up and coached another team to five league championships.

Darcy Haugan, 42, was one of 16 people who died after the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team’s bus and a semi collided at a crossroads in Saskatchewan on April 6, 2018.

Haugan was remembered over the weekend as a coach who pushed his players to bring their very best to the rink and to their personal lives.

“We were all devastated when we heard the news in April 2018. Like many in our community, it was hard to digest, hard to comprehend what had happened,” town councillor Orren Ford said at the unveiling of the statue on Saturday in Peace River, Alta., occasionally wiping away tears.

Thirteen others were injured were injured in the crash.

Prior to joining the Broncos, Haugan, who was a devout Christian, coached the North Peace Navigators in the Northwest Junior Hockey League for 12 seasons.

Navigators president Albert Cooper said discussions began about how they wanted to remember Haugan about a month after the tragedy. Ideas like naming a building or a street after Haugan were also considered.

“”I actually felt a statue would be unique — a nice addition for our town,” he said in an interview Sunday.

The statue, which is three-quarters life-size and weighs over 190 kilograms, was cast by Don and Shirley Begg of Studio West in Cochrane.

The bronzesmiths’ body of past work touches on themes of tragedy and hockey. It includes a sculpture honouring four RCMP officers who were gunned down in Mayerthorpe, Alta., in 2005, as well as helping with sculpting the Wayne Gretzky statue that now stands outside Rogers Place in Edmonton.

Don Begg said the artists wanted to illustrate Haugan’s coaching philosophy with the piece.

“He wanted them to be not just good hockey players, but good community people,” Begg said of Haugan when reached by phone on Sunday.

“That’s what we were trying to portray in him.”

Attendance at the ceremony outside Baytex Energy Centre had to be limited due to COVID-19, although his widow, Christine, sons Carson and Jackson, and parents were there.

“I can tell you without a doubt, Darcy would be in complete disbelief seeing this,” Christina Haugan told the small crowd.

Ford said Haugan saw his players as “full and complete men, not just as hockey players.”

“He made it his mission to mold them into men he knew they could be — men who cared about their family and their community in addition to their team and the sport of hockey,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rylee Trippel was last seen Friday. (Photo contributed by RCMP)
Red Deer RCMP looking for missing teen

Police are looking for a teen who was last seen in the… Continue reading

The Red Deer Outreach Centre’s Adopt a Family program raised $60,000 in 2020. (Photo courtesy Red Deer Outreach Centre’s Facebook)
Red Deer Outreach Centre’s Adopt a Family program raised $60K in 2020

The executive director of the Red Deer Outreach Centre says she is… Continue reading

The Red Deer and District Community Foundation needs to sell more tickets to host a raffle that will benefit the Women and Girls Endowment Fund.
Red Deer & District Community Foundation grants $167K to local women’s initiatives

Initiatives supporting women, girls, Two-Spirit and gender-diverse individuals will receive a combined… Continue reading

City of Red Deer says its roundabouts have sharply reduced the number of injury collisions at a pair of busy intersections. Alberta Transportation wants to incorporate five roundabouts into plans to twin Highway 11 from Sylvan Lake to Rocky Mountain House. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Highway 11 roundabouts will increase safety based on Red Deer’s experience

Injury collisions sharply reduced at roundabout intersections in city

As of Friday, Alberta has under 10,000 active COVID-19 cases. (Image courtesy CDC)
One new COVID-19 death in Red Deer, Alberta under 10,000 active cases

Alberta reported an additional 643 COVID-19 cases Friday. The province now has… Continue reading

Former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley shakes hands with Joel Ward, former Red Deer College President and CEO, as Notley announces that the college is on the path to grant degrees. Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan says university status is not a necessary condition for offering degrees. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Future of Red Deer University increasingly uncertain

MLA’s college update says RDC more like SAIT and NAIT than a university

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole holds a press conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole defends decision to back, then oust, Sloan

OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole says he was once willing to… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault pauses as he speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Non-essential travel ban would violate Constitution but courts might allow it: expert

MONTREAL — Fear that Quebecers will catch a new variant of COVID-19… Continue reading

A woman walks outside the Roberta Place Long Term Care home in Barrie, Ont. on Monday, January 18, 2021. The devastating toll of COVID-19 on long-term care residents in Canada has underscored the need for increased public funding for home care, advocates say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
COVID-19 deaths in long-term care reveal need for home supports: advocates

VANCOUVER — The devastating toll of COVID-19 on long-term care residents in… Continue reading

A Chinese flag is illuminated by sunshine in the Hall of Honour on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Thursday, September 22, 2016. China is threatening retaliation against Canada after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned a new security law giving Beijing more control over Hong Kong.. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Diplomats contact Canadian held for over 2 years in China

BEIJING — Canadian officials have met online with former diplomat Michael Kovrig,… Continue reading

Marc Gold (centre) stands with senators André Pratte (left) and Peter Harder before being sworn in during a ceremony in the Senate on Parliament Hill, Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Senator urges study of vexing barriers to using secret information in court cases

OTTAWA — A Senate committee should examine the hurdles that make it… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Winnipeg ticket holder wins Friday night’s $60 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — A ticket holder from Winnipeg won Friday night’s whopping $60… Continue reading

A readers suggests using a hairdryer to open a tight jar lid. (Photo by The Associated Press)
Hints from Heloise: The handy hairdryer hint

Dear Heloise: Whenever you have trouble opening a tight jar lid, set… Continue reading

Professional-quality tools don’t just last longer, they’re also more comfortable and better balanced. This drill and impact driver are perfectly balanced on the triggers, which is ideal. (Photo by Steve Maxwell)
Houseworks: In praise of professional-grade tools

When I was 10 years old, my dad began renovating our kitchen,… Continue reading

Most Read