Hockey players Derek Patter (left) and Brayden Camrud (right) are shown in a scene from the new CBC documentary “Humboldt: The New Season.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CBC

Hockey players Derek Patter (left) and Brayden Camrud (right) are shown in a scene from the new CBC documentary “Humboldt: The New Season.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-CBC

Humboldt survivors featured in documentary want to make their ‘angels’ proud

‘Humboldt: The New Season’ to air Thursday, Aug. 15, on CBC

More than a year after a deadly bus crash that devastated their junior hockey team and the nation, Tyler Smith and Kaleb Dahlgren are focusing on healing and building their futures.

Airing Thursday on CBC-TV, the documentary “Humboldt: The New Season” shows the two crash survivors and others as they try to recover and move forward from the trauma of April 6, 2018, when a semi-trailer unit collided with the Humboldt Broncos team bus in rural Saskatchewan. Sixteen people died and 13 were injured.

“It’s impossible to try to fully heal or get that closure … but now it’s more or less doing the proper things and seeking out help when you need and not forcing it,” says Smith, 21, who returned to play with the team for a bit last season and then decided to go home to focus on himself and his loved ones in Leduc, Alta. This fall, he’ll enter the radio and television program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

“Controlling the things I can control has helped me tremendously throughout this process,” adds Saskatoon-based Dahlgren, 22, who is undergoing craniosacral therapy for a third-degree brain injury he suffered in the crash. He’s also trying to get medical clearance to play in a hockey game again, and will continue his business commerce degree at Toronto’s York University this fall with the goal of possibly shifting into chiropractic studies.

“Because I can’t control the accident, I can’t control injuries I had or people that aren’t here,” Dahlgren says. ”All I can control is myself and how I perceive it and my actions.”

Kevin Eastwood and Lucas Frison wrote and directed “Humboldt: The New Season,” which follows five of the survivors and some of the families of the deceased as the 2018-2019 hockey season unfolds with a different coaching staff and some new teammates. The film also touches on the trial and sentencing of the truck driver who caused the crash.

Watch the trailer here

Frison says late Broncos’ assistant coach Mark Cross, who was one of the victims, was his best friend growing up. They were “inseparable” since they were about three and played hockey together, so once the grief and shock of the tragedy wore off, Frison knew his next project had to commemorate Cross in some way.

“I guess it would be part of the healing process for me,” Frison says in a phone interview from Regina, noting Cross’s father introduced him to the Broncos families.

“We didn’t want to be just another camera to the players and the families. My friendship, my connection with Mark, that helped us build relationships. And ultimately, the relationship building — that was a very rewarding part of this project, getting to know so many of these really courageous people.”

Frison started rolling cameras in August 2018 and shot throughout the team’s entire season, as some players returned. Smith played 10 games before moving back home to Alberta to continue his healing.

“I think for my healing and for my growth, it was a good thing to go back and prove to myself that I could still do it,” Smith says.

“Now I necessarily don’t have to live with the regret of not knowing if I would have went back. So I’m really proud that I went back and I hope my angels and everybody else is really proud.”

Smith says his “angels” are the 16 who died in the crash.

One year later: Memorial held for Humboldt Broncos crash victims

“I know my angels would really want me to live my life like they know I would want to,” he adds, referring to his choice to leave the team. ”So it’s now just focusing on what I want to do and being with family and friends. Taking each day one step at a time and trying to live for them as well.”

Victoria Ahearn, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the province still hopes to bring the hospitalization number down before relaxing restrictions. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
14 new deaths, 366 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta

Province nearing 100K COVID-19 vaccine doses administered

Black Press file photo
Leduc RCMP investigate serious collision involving train

Leduc RCMP were called to a collision between a train and truck on Centre Street in New Sarepta.

Elder Muriel Lee. (Photo submitted)
Maskwacis Elder Mentoring Program connects Elders with young parents

By Chevi Rabbit For Black Press Media The Maskwacis Elders Mentoring Program,… Continue reading

Pipestone Flyer file photo
Nominations now open for 2021 general municipal election

Nominations for Wetaskiwin’s general municipal election are now open until Sept. 20, 2021.

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

(Photo submitted)
Central Alberta researchers recognized for studies in agricultural sciences

Jessica Sperber of Ponoka and David MacTaggart of Lacombe awarded prestigious scholarship

FILE – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers his opening remarks at a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Tuesday, January 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine CEO ‘very, very clear’ that Canada’s contracts will be honoured: Trudeau

Trudeau says he spoke to Moderna CEO on the morning of Jan. 26

A ground worker wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 unloads lobsters from a WestJet Airlines flight at Vancouver International Airport, in Richmond, B.C., on Thursday, January 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Trudeau teases stricter travel measures; Canadians flying to U.S. now need COVID test

Prime minister says measures need to not hurt imports and essential trade

(Photo submitted)
Ponoka RCMP receives new police puppy trainee

Detachment says goodbye to ‘Maja’ and welcomes ‘Neutron’

Art Kempf, originally from the Stettler area but now living in Lacombe, is pictured here with his late wife Lillian. Art’s 100th birthday is coming up on Feb. 22nd.
photo submitted
Former Stettler area resident Art Kempf will be celebrating a very special day next month

Kempf, now a Lacombe resident, marks his 100th birthday on Feb. 22nd

'The Coronavirus Isn't Scary' by Kristy Walker.
Sylvan Lake author pens first children’s book about COVID-19

“The Coronavirus Isn’t Scary” by Kristy Walker teaches children to take care of themselves

Whistle Stop Cafe owner Christopher Scott and his sister Melodie are serving sit-down customers in their Mirror diner to protest health restrictions that they say are unfair to restaurants and other small businesses. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
Central Alberta restaurant owner defies health restrictions by serving diners

Whistle Stop Cafe owner says pandemic restrictions unfair to restaurants and small businesses

The Northwest Territories flag flies on a flagpole in Ottawa on July 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Alberta man charged with threatening Northwest Territories public health officer

Police did reveal the nature of the threats, but said it was concerning

Most Read