Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan fought back tears Saturday morning as he talked about the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
“I’m from Saskatoon. I know Saskatchewan people well. I know that Humboldt area really well.
“They’re as strong as they come but they’ll need our help,” he said.
“I can’t imagine what those families are feeling and what they’re going through right now. It just won’t be today. It lasts a while. They need our support. They’re going to need it as soon as now. It’s going to have to last for a while.”
Watch Below: The Edmonton Oilers react to the tragic Humboldt Broncos fatal bus crash and share their stories of life on the road.
McLellan coached the Swift Current Broncos from 1994 to 2000. That community was rocked by a tragic crash of its own in 1986, with four players losing their lives.
“Lived it and felt it. It goes on forever,” said McLellan.
Oilers assistant coach Ian Herbers was playing for Swift Current when their bus crashed. He has never spoken about it publicly.
Oilers players were jolted by the tragedy as many recalled bus trips as some of the highlights of their junior careers.
Watch below: Edmonton Oilers superstar Connor McDavid reacts to the tragic news of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash and talks about how he never even thought how dangerous it can be on a bus.
“Some of my fondest memories have come on the bus. You’re with all the boys and having a good time. For me, it never even came across my mind that something like that could happen,” said captain Connor McDavid.
“It’s like a haven. It’s like a safe space.”
Milan Lucic played in the WHL for the Vancouver Giants, which meant many long bus trips through the Rocky Mountains.
“You feel for the families that are affected by it,” said Lucic. “Those bus rides were always your safe place. Nothing like that ever crossed your mind. In the middle of winter going through the Coquihalla was dangerous at times, but we never had any close calls or anything like that.””It’s just terrible,” said defenceman Matt Benning. “Don’t know what else to say.”
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