Tough road lies ahead for the Portland Winterhawks

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Portland Winterhawks

Tough road lies ahead for the Portland Winterhawks

BY 

The Portland Winterhawks were hoping this past week’s games would give them a larger spread on the Spokane Chiefs for the final playoff spot, while Spokane hoped to narrow the gap between the two teams. In the end, neither squad got the results they desired.

Portland started off with a gritty, hard fought win over the Red Deer Rebels, a team seemingly far removed from its perch as last year’s Memorial Cup hosts. The Rebels came into Portland unable to get victories against opponents in the US Division, but nearly captured one in Portland. The Hawks had held a 4-2 lead in the third, when Red Deer scored and put the Hawks on their heels for the rest of the game. The Winterhawks were able to weather a tough storm to win 4-3, but at a physical cost, one that probably affected them the rest of the weekend. With games as a home and home with the Seattle Thunderbirds, Portland knew that they were facing a team which was challenging for top spot in the US Division with the Everett Silvertips. The Tips had done well on their Eastern swing, a trip all other US Division teams had already made and with it, Everett had opened a small gap atop the division.

Portland fought valiantly in both games, at one point holding a lead in the third period. The deciding factor in the first game was defenseman Ethan Bear who provided two goals and two assists to lead the way for the Thunderbirds in the first game in a 5-3 loss in Seattle. The following night, Portland again lost the lead in the third period with just 45 seconds left to force overtime and then a shootout which Seattle scored twice to Portland’s once to take a 5-4 shootout victory.

Portland gets a relatively light schedule this week with just two games if you call facing divisional opponents ahead of you in the standings relatively light, but hits it hard the following week with four games in eight days.

The division and conference races have gotten much tighter with Prince George and Kamloops within a point of each other in the BC Division, mirroring the US Division with Everett and Seattle. Tri-City still has a very slight glimmer of hope of catching the top two US teams, but will need a lot of help, while Portland is within 4 points of the Americans with a game in hand. The Spokane Chiefs are eight points back of Portland with 13 games left on their schedule and all are against teams ahead of them in the standings who are in battles of their own. The Winterhawks will play Spokane in two of those games.

This season seems to be the toughest in figuring out who will get the playoff spots this late in the season as nine teams in the Western Conference and realistically nine teams in the Eastern Conference have a shot not only at a playoff spot, but could cause considerable movement within the division to have a more advantageous position. One thing is for certain, there doesn’t appear to be a safe playoff position yet.

Ice Chips:  Former Winterhawks broadcaster Dean “Scooter” Vrooman and recently retired NHL player Paul Gaustad, who makes Portland home, were the special guests of a Q & A event at a one-time screening of the movie Ice Guardians. The movie chronicles many former NHL players who were regarded as “enforcers” for their respective NHL teams and a more in depth look at changes to the game which have forced their style to the sidelines and a conversation about the potential elimination of fighting in the game. Having had a chance to see the movie, I would recommend it as viewing for anyone wishing to see both sides of the argument.

On Saturday, February 25th, the very popular Try Hockey for Free Day will take place at over 300 rinks across the United States for kids ages 4 to 9 who would like to have the chance to see what it’s like as a hockey player at no charge. Mountain View Ice Arena in Vancouver, WA will host their event at 9AM and the Winterhawks Skating Center in Beaverton will host theirs at 1:30PM for this one hour special presentation. Registration in advance is highly recommended as space is very limited.

A chance to meet with Winterhawks players will take place on Monday, February 26th at the Les Schwab in the Pearl District from 4 to 6PM. A handful of players to be announced will be there to sign autographs, take pictures and win some prizes.

COVID-19 ends WHL season -- with the Portland Winterhawks as champs

COVID-19 ends WHL season -- with the Portland Winterhawks as champs

The bad news for the Portland Winterhawks and their fans Wednesday was that the Western Hockey League has canceled the remaining games of its regular season.

The good news, though, is that the young Winterhawks have capped off the abbreviated season by being declared the winners of the WHL’s U.S. Division and, even better, winners of the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy as regular-season champions, with the best record in the entire league.

The WHL is still holding out hope of holding its playoffs if the COVID-19 pandemic subsides and conditions allow.

Mike Johnston, the team’s head coach, vice president and general manager, admitted that it has been a surprising season for a young team not expected to contend this season.

“To be honest, it was,” Johnston said. “We thought at Christmas we wanted to see where we would be, in the running, and we were kind of surprised at that time we were holding that top position in the league.

“We decided at the trade deadline not to make any moves -- one of the first years we didn’t make any moves, for the simple reason that we liked our team. They were over-performing. And I thought they deserved to make a run with it.

“Also, we knew going forward that we had a phenomenal team coming back next year and the following year so we didn’t want to tinker with that. Most teams in our position did make moves and acquired players, but even with that, we still held on right to the end.

“It’s amazing. This is only the third time we’ve had the best overall record and we’ve had a lot of good teams.”

The Hawks were loaded with youngsters this season. They will have two big-time losses next season, in goalie Joel Hofer and captain and star defenseman Johnny Ludvig. Both could be headed for professional hockey next season.

But all of the team’s offensive firepower should return.

“In the future, you’re looking at a real nice team for next year and the year after,” Johnston said, “A team that should be one of the strongest in the league.

“Our core players will be back. Two years ago, we had four 16-year-olds in our lineup and this year we had three. A third of our team was 16- and 17-years-old this year.”

The star of that group will be a player, Seth Jarvis, who is expected to be a high pick in the NHL draft this year. As a 17-year-old, he had 42 goals and 56 assists in just 58 games.

Indeed, a franchise that has had so much success under Johnston seems to be on the same road again.

Portland Winterhawks remaining games cancelled, finish in first place

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WHL

Portland Winterhawks remaining games cancelled, finish in first place

As the sports world remains at a standstill to help contain the spread of COVID-19, leagues are having to make tough decisions. 

On Wednesday, the Western Hockey League, which the Portland Winterhawks play in, announced the conclusion of its 2019-2020 season.

The WHL had 54 remaining games to play in its regular season before entering the playoffs.

The Winterhawks were on a tremendous run with a 45-11-3-4 record. 

Following the announcement, the Winterhawks release the following statement.


With the current concerns related to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Portland Winterhawks fully support the Western Hockey League’s decision today to conclude the 2019-20 WHL regular season.

Following a meeting with the WHL Board of Governors and consultation with medical professionals, it was determined that the remaining 54 games on the 2019-20 WHL Regular Season schedule will be cancelled and not played.

The Portland Winterhawks also announced that its players are allowed to return home to their families immediately.

Final standings were determined based on winning percentage, meaning the Portland Winterhawks finished in first place with an overall record of 45-11-3-4 (.770 percentage) for 97 points in 63 games.

Congratulations to the Portland Winterhawks on a great season!

How Don Hay ended up as an assistant with the Winterhawks

How Don Hay ended up as an assistant with the Winterhawks

Don Hay surprised a lot of hockey fans when he took a job as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks last week.

Hay is the winningest head coach in Western Hockey League history, has won three Memorial Cups, two WHL Coach of the Year awards, a World Junior championship and been the head coach of the NHL Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes. Hay recently announced a "retirement" from coaching, leaving the Kamloops Blazers.

In an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Northwest, Hay talked about the opportunity to coach in Portland under old friend Mike Johnston and his responsibilities on the staff.

See the video above

What happened in Kamloops that led to Don Hay joining the Winterhawks

What happened in Kamloops that led to Don Hay joining the Winterhawks

Don Hay surprised a lot of hockey fans when he took a job as an assistant coach with the Portland Winterhawks last week.

Hay is the winningest head coach in Western Hockey League history, has won three Memorial Cups, two WHL Coach of the Year awards, a World Junior championship and been the head coach of the NHL Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes. Hay recently announced a "retirement" from coaching, leaving the Kamloops Blazers.

In an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Northwest, Hay talked about the opportunity to coach in Portland under old friend Mike Johnston and his responsibilities on the staff.

See the video above

Winterhawks add Don Hay as an assistant coach

Winterhawks add Don Hay as an assistant coach

The Portland Winterhawks announced Monday afternoon that they've added one of the greatest coaches in Western Hockey League history to their staff.

Don Hay, the WHL's career head-coaching leader with 750 wins, won 3 Memorial Cup Championships with the Kamloops Blazers and Vancouver Giants, has two WHL Coach of the Year Awards, a Gold Medal in the 1995 World Juniors, and NHL Head Coaching roles with Phoenix and Calgary. During the 2017-18 season while coachig at Kamloops, Hay set a WHL record, surpassing longtime Portland Coach Ken Hodge to become the leagues winningest Coach with 750 wins in his career.

He will join head coach Mike Johnston's staff as an assistant coach.

"We are thrilled to add a coach of Don's caliber to our staff.  He will bring not only experience in the league but also a history of winning. When I first approached Don about the idea I wasn't sure what his reaction would be, but he was both interested and excited. (Associate head coach) Kyle (Gustafson) and I have always had a good rapport with Don and feel he will definitely be a great addition to our group," said Johnston, who also serves as the team's vice president and general manager.

“I’m excited to work with the Portland Winterhawks organization. I’m looking forward to working with Mike and Kyle and the rest of their staff. It’s a great opportunity to continue to learn and add my experience to the coaching staff,” said Hay in the team's news release.

 

WHL Final Set, US Represented

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USATI

WHL Final Set, US Represented

BY 

It’s a tough order to get a US Division team into the WHL Finals with only five of twenty-two possible, but the US Division was strong once again this year. They knocked out the BC teams in record fashion which led to a matchup with almost as much distance across the league as possible. 

The Everett Silvertips punched their ticket with a tough 6-5 overtime win over the Tri City Americans in Kennewick, WA. The Tips held a 2-1 lead after one period with both teams scoring on the powerplay, the Tips coming late in the period. The second period was all Americans with two goals, one of which came by the way of the powerplay and followed up with two more midway through the third period to take what appeared to be a commanding 5-2 lead. However, Everett scored just over a minute later and banged home two more a minute apart with six minutes left in the game to force overtime. 

The Americans took a costly tripping penalty just under five minutes into the overtime which set the stage for Kevin Davis’ second of the night just over a minute into the powerplay, to get the come from behind 6-5 overtime win and a trip for the first time ever to the WHL Finals.

The Swift Current Broncos, long thought by many to be the favorites in the WHL Finals, had an easier time with the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The Canes led the game after the first period with a goal late in the first period, but five straight by the Broncos, one on the powerplay, one short-handed and one in the empty net were all they needed to take game six by a 5-1 margin. 

Thus the stage was set for two powerhouses and what should be a tight matchup with it going close to the distance. The first two games were held in the sold out Credit Union iPlex in Swift Current and game one set the tone for showing just how evenly matched the two teams were. Three goals and five penalties in the game between the two teams with one goal on the powerplay and a final of 2-1 in favor of the Everett Silvertips. 

Game two in Swift Current started out very well for Everett as they piled on three goals in fourteen minutes in the first period to take a commanding lead. The Broncos started chipping away in the second with one goal and scored another midway through the third to close the gap. After pulling goaltender Stuart Skinner for the extra attacker, they completed the comeback with just over ninety seconds to play and sent the game to overtime. Close to the midway mark, Giorgio Estaphan, whom the Broncos had acquired at trade deadline from the Hurricanes, knocked off his former team with the overtime marker which sent the Bronco faithful into euphoria. 

Games three and four now head to Everett and game five set for Swift Current at the end of the week. This is the only series where teams have the option of flying and with a twenty plus hour drive distance between them, it is safe to say that wasn’t even an option.

The Portland Winterhawks finished their week with the Bantam Draft for 2018. This year, the Hawks had all their draft choices in place, the first time since 2013 when they had heavy sanctions imposed.

Leading up to the draft, the Hawks made a trade.  The Hawks traded a conditional pick in the 2019 WHL Bantam Draft in exchange for 1998-born defenseman Jared Freadrich. With 196 games under his belt, the overage defenseman is expected to plug a major hole in the Hawks defensive core with Keoni Texeira and potentially Henri Jokiharju gone from the Hawks for the upcoming season. 

Eleven players were selected by the Hawks with four defensemen, six forwards and one goaltender who will all come to camp this year before being re-assigned to respective junior teams. Training camp for the Hawks is set for late August with the first regular season game coming up on Saturday, September 22, 2018.

The Cinderella season of the Nipawan Hawks continues down three games to two in the Avanet Cup and a spot in the RBC Cup which will have a US team in the mix with the Wenatchee Wild coming in after winning their series. 

Three down and one to go – Portland Winterhawks won’t make the show

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NBCS Northwest

Three down and one to go – Portland Winterhawks won’t make the show

BY STUART KEMP

Playoffs can bring out the best in some teams and for three teams that best was what eliminated them.

The Tri-City Americans had already claimed a spot in the Western Conference Final and were awaiting the winner of the Everett Silvertips versus Portland Winterhawks and they wouldn’t wait long. The Tips and Hawks battled one day after a heartbreaking loss by Portland at home and the Hawks found themselves on the ropes down 3-1 in the series. The two teams battled to a scoreless draw in the first period and it took until the midway point of the game before the first goal was scored. For the Hawks it was the start of a rough night as the Everett Silvertips Jake Christiansen scored from the point past a screen Cole Kehler. That goal held through the remainder of the period.

Early in the third period, Riley Sutter fished out a puck that Kehler thought he had under control and tucked it under Kehler into the net to put the Tips up by two. Four minutes later it was Gianni Fairbrother who scored and the defence was on for the Tips. The Hawks, looking for any spark, pulled Kehler with just over four minutes left in the game, but Christiansen had other plans as he stripped the Hawks puck carrier and fired into the empty net. From there, it was all Carter Hart in net for the Silvertips, stopping all 34 Portland shots for the shutout and a 4-0 win. The Silvertips win the series 4-1 and host Tri-City Americans on Friday with the winner heading to the WHL Final and the Chynoweth Cup.

Right after the game, Winterhawks defenseman Dennis Cholowski reported to the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League. Cholowski, who was acquired from the Prince George Cougars at trade deadline, is a possible call-up by the Detroit Red Wings for next season and is past a longshot to return to Portland as at best, he would return as an overage player. The Hawks also said goodbye to Keoni Texeira, Cole Kehler and Alex Overhardt as they have maxed out in age. The Hawks will also look to pare down a few players from the roster who were nineteen this season and would appear as overage players next season. These players include Conor MacEachern, Skyler McKenzie, Brendan DeJong. Joschim Blichfeld, Kieffer Bellows and Connor Barley who was picked up from Kootenay but had spent the past three seasons in Selkirk, Manitoba. Barley played in three games during the Hawks playoffs as a call up to replace Lucas MacKenzie who was out with an injury. Expect Bellows to be called up to the pros this season and possibly Blichfeld to an AHL team which would leave the Hawks with three regular overage players, subject to trades or other reasons. 

The Eastern Conference matchups also took place with the Lethbridge Hurricanes coming out on top of the Brandon Wheat Kings by a 3-0 score. The Canes who appeared to be sellers at trade deadline including their top goaltender to the Swift Current Broncos, found ways to hold the fort against first the Red Deer Rebels and now the Wheat Kings as they await the winner of the Swift Current Broncos and Moose Jaw Warriors.

The Broncos/ Warriors series was close to ending in six games as the Broncos built up a 2-0 lead after scoring midway through the second period and then early in the third period as Swift Current kept Moose Jaw to very low shot totals in the first two periods. The sixty-minute game idea came into play and instead of folding like other teams when the chips were down, the Warriors fought back. Three minutes after the second Swift Current goal, Moose Jaw scored their first and then five minutes later, scored their second of the game to tie it up as both teams battled for the remainder of the period. Both Brody Wilms for the Warriors and Stuart Skinner for the Broncos found ways to keep their respective squads in the game. To overtime the two teams went and settled nothing in the first extra twenty-minute session, despite the Broncos having a powerplay. The teams headed to the second overtime period and again were unable to break the deadlock. In the third overtime, the Broncos took a penalty just forty-four seconds into the frame. That penalty proved costly as Jayden Halbgewachs, top scorer in the WHL during the regular season, made the comeback complete for the Warriors as they escape Swift Current with a 3-2 win in triple overtime despite being outshot 60-38 in the game. This sets up a showdown in Moose Jaw with the winner going to the Eastern Conference final. 

 

Ice Chips: Over $3000 was raised by the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club for the #HumboldtStrong campaign following a horrific bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos team bus which was on the way to game five in Nipawin to face the Hawks. Originally announced was that fourteen had been killed in the accident, but one passed a couple of days later and now a sixteenth victim has passed with the death of the team trainer who was the only female on the bus. With the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League having to make a decision on the status of the playoffs, they elected to match the Nipawin Hawks and Estavan Bruins for the SJHL Championship in honor of the Broncos with the winner facing the Manitoba League champion for the right to play in the RBC Cup in Chilliwack, BC in mid-May. That series is currently tied at one game each with the series headed to Estavan, Saskatchewan. Meanwhile, the GoFundMe account set up for the Broncos has reached over eleven and a half million dollars and has spun off two other GoFundMe accounts, one for the deceased coach Darcy Haugen and one to build a scholarship in honor of the Broncos. Both of those have reached their initial goals as well.

Second round possible achilles heel for the Portland Winterhawks

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NBCS Northwest

Second round possible achilles heel for the Portland Winterhawks

BY STUART KEMP 

With the second round of the WHL playoffs underway, the speed of the games going by is really incredible. Now with all teams having played four games, the playoff picture for up to three of them is almost completely clear.

The Portland Winterhawks, following their split in Everett, brought the series home to the Rose City hoping to at least catch a split there, however things didn’t quite go to plan. The first game saw similar issues to the game two in Everett where the Silvertips came out strong and put the Hawks on the ropes with a 6-2 win. The Hawks had just a day to rest in between games three and four and whatever transpired in the locker room in that time off, seemed to reflect highly for the Hawks. Game four was a classic, defensive game with only a few goals, many high quality shots and the crowd of over seven thousand really into the game. Defensemen for the Hawks provided the scoring as Brenden DeJong and Henri Jokiharju got goals for Portland. The latter goal was scored with just over two minutes left in the game to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead. However, the game is sixty minutes long and in a span of less than a minute, the Hawks were hearing the buzzer and looking at the scoreboard with a 3-2 loss to the Tips and 3-1 deficit in the playoffs. The teams boarded respective buses to head to Everett for what could be the Winterhawks swan song in this year’s playoff games.

The other series have also seen some unusual activity with the Tri City Americans seemingly on fire in their run. Following a rocky end to the regular season, the Americans opened a brand new season called the playoffs and ripped through the top BC Division team in the Kelowna Rockets with just four games to knock them to the sidelines. The Americans then faced the Victoria Royals, a team that  was taken it to the limit in their first round series. The Ams didn’t care as they knocked out the Royals seemingly at ease with another four straight run. They now await the winner of Portland versus Everett.

The Eastern Conference has seen the Lethbridge Hurricanes come out swinging in their battle with the Brandon Wheat Kings. After the Hurricanes took Brandon in the first two games, the Wheat Kings battled back with a gutsy 5-4 win in game three. It was the next game where Lethbridge outlasted Brandon with a 7-4 win that has put the Alberta team within a game of the next round.

The titanic struggle between the Swift Current Broncos and Moose Jaw Warriors has been nothing short of what was expected. The two teams split in Moose Jaw and then did the same thing in Swift Current to leave the teams tied at two games each. The winner of this series will face either Lethbridge or Brandon for the Eastern Conference title.

The Portland Winterhawks WAHA group donated their half of the 50/50 pot from Tuesday’s game with over $9,000 donated to the HumboldtStrong campaign. Not to be outdone, the Portland Winterhawks Booster Club contributed over $3,000 from donations collected at the home games of the Hawks in the second round.

WHL Playoffs Round 2 – Two teams split games, two take a lead

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NBCS Northwest

WHL Playoffs Round 2 – Two teams split games, two take a lead

BY STUART KEMP

Four games each night during the weekend took place, but much of the two nights was reserved for a horrific bus crash that ended up killing fifteen people and injuring fourteen others outside the rural town of Tisdale, Saskatchewan, located east of Saskatoon … more on that in a moment.

The first night of the WHL second round saw Eastern Division teams Swift Current Broncos and Moose Jaw Warriors battle in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. The first night the Warriors led for the game before allowing Swift Current to get close before finishing the game with a 5-3 win. 

The Central vs East Division was up next with Lethbridge Hurricanes facing the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Kings had a tough night out in the first game dropping a 5-1 decision to the Canes. Jordy Bellerive and Taylor Ross each scored a pair of goals for the Hurricanes.

The Victoria Royals goaltender, Griffin Outhouse, was shellacked for seven goals by seven different scorers and Patrick Dea earned the shutout in a 7-0 win for the Tri-City Americans.

The Everett Silvertips gave up the first three goals of the game before coming back with a pair in the second to make it close, but Skyler McKenzie scored with just over one second left in the period to restore the two goal cushion and added another midway through the third period to take game one by a 5-2 score.

The second night, the news had sunk in about the horrific tragedy that has taken place the night before and all games in the WHL had all the players on each team gather together side by side in alternating fashion either at center ice or at the blue line.

NHL teams Chicago Blackhawks and Winnipeg Jets removed their nameplates and played the game with the name Broncos stitched in their place. 

Many teams donated either portions of 50/50 sales or collected donations from patrons for the people of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, home of the Humboldt Broncos and along with a GoFundMe project, is closing on five million dollars in less than two days.

It was a tough night for the second set of games as teams seemingly were preoccupied with the situation in Saskatchewan.

The Swift Current Broncos came back from the loss the previous night to shutout the Moose Jaw Warriors 4-0 with four different scorers to now tie the series at one game apiece with the series shifting to Swift Current.

The Brandon Wheat Kings scored four goals in the first two periods before a comeback by the Hurricanes. The Canes started the comeback in the middle of the second by Jordy Bellerive who also scored midway through the third and a late powerplay goal by Lethbridge tied up the contest. Late into the first overtime the Hurricanes completed the comeback with a 5-4 overtime win and a two game lead in the series. The Kings will host the next two games in Brandon.

In Victoria after smarting from a shutout, the Royals gave up the first goal less than a minute into the contest to Tri-City’s Michael Rasmussen. Just under seven minutes into the second, the Royals tied it up, only to allow Rasmussen his second of the game ten minutes later while on the powerplay. Early in the third period, Tri-City extended the lead and the game saw the Americans cap off the scoring with the hat trick goal by Rasmussen with just over a minute left in the game, Rasmussen ended the game with three goals and one assist to lead the Ams to a 4-1 win and a two games to one lead in the series with it now shifting to Kennewick, WA.

The Portland Winterhawks seemed to be more focused on anything but the game at hand as they gave up two goals in the first, one of which came in the first minute of play, three more in the second and one in the third which gave Patrick Bajkov a hat trick and Carter Hart the shutout in a 6-0 thrashing of the Hawks. The series now tied at one will move to Portland.

All series will resume again on Tuesday, with the all series except the Portland/ Everett series playing game four on Wednesday. That series will play game four on Thursday.

The horrific bus crash that took place on Friday afternoon is being investigated by the RCMP with the driver of the tractor trailer escaping without injury, fourteen players initially dead at the scene and fourteen players on the bus as injured, three critically. One player who had just turned twenty-one had signed a donor registry card at the same time and his body was being used to assist up to eleven lives after he was pronounced brain dead in hospital, raising the total to fifteen. The driver of the tractor trailer was initially taken into custody

On Sunday, a vigil was held in Humboldt, Saskatchewan home of the Broncos which filled the arena to capacity.

Overflow crowds moved to the curling center with the vigil streaming online. Elsewhere, vigils were held in Saskatoon at City Hall and the Art Bauer Centre in Prince Albert Saskatchewan. The names of all deceased were read at the vigil, however the RCMP had not officially announced the victims. The Premier of Saskatchewan and the Canadian Prime Minister attended, but did not speak. Don Cherry, who hosts a segment called Coaches Corner on CBC TV during hockey games also attended.

Photos including aerial ones have circulated online and show a strewn about scene with bales of peat moss which the tractor trailer truck was carrying. The truck was westbound on Highway 335 which had a stop sign to yield to traffic on Highway 35 in which the bus was traveling northbound.  There is a stand of trees on the angle to the left that has some impairment to those turning off the highway northbound. The investigation is also looking into weather and road conditions. The impact sent both vehicles a distance northbound up the highway and the bus appeared to be shredded. Among the dead were ten players ranging in age from sixteen to twenty-one, the bus driver, the head coach, assistant coach, statistician and radio broadcaster. The crash occurred at approximately 5 PM with less than thirty minutes prior to arrival in Nipawin, Saskatchewan where the Humboldt Broncos were to play game five against the Nipawin Hawks, down 3-1 in the series. Dame six was set to take place in Humboldt on Sunday, where instead a vigil was held. The vigil started at 7:30pm when puck drop would have taken place and instead a moment of silence was held. 

At this point, the SJHL has suspended operations for all teams, though the race is on for decisions on what will happen as the finals and RBC Cup which is similar to the Memorial Cup in the Canadian Hockey League are scheduled to be taking place in the coming days. The Estevan Bruins were awaiting the winner of the Hawks/ Broncos series which was scheduled to begin this coming Friday and the winner to move onto the RBC Cup. 

The GoFundMe account, which is closing in on five million dollars, was helped by large donations from several NHL teams and over sixteen thousand individual donors. The Portland Winterhawks Booster Club will be collecting donations at home games on Tuesday and Thursday with the funds going directly to Humboldt Broncos. 

It was announced at the initial press conference that an accountant and attorney will assist with the distribution of funds once collected to figure out the best way to assist those in need in this tragic situation. 

More will be announced in the coming days.