Small Canadian Town Mourns After 15 Members of Junior Hockey Team Are Killed in Bus Crash

A small town in Canada’s Saskatchewan province is in mourning Saturday after 15 people died when a bus carrying a junior hockey team collided with a tractor-trailer. At least 14 are being treated for injuries.

“This is a dark moment for our city, our community, our province,” Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench said Saturday afternoon at a news conference. “There is no playbook on what to do in cases like this.

The crash occurred around 5 p.m. Friday north of Tisdale, according to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as the team was headed for the town of Nipawin for a playoff game. RCMP Assistant Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said the tractor-trailer, traveling west on Highway 335, collided with the bus which was traveling north on Highway 35.

Three of the injured are in critical condition, according to the RCMP. Authorities have yet to identify the victims. Twenty-nine people were on the bus.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured in the collision, Zablocki said. He was initially detained but was later released, and he is not currently the subject of a criminal investigation.

“Our investigators will be looking at all aspects of this accident to determine what took place,” Zablocki said. “It’s too early to comment on the cause of the collision.”

The Humboldt team was scheduled to play the Nipawin Hawks in the fifth game of a best-of-seven semifinal playoff series Friday. The teams played a lengthy game Wednesday that Nipawin won 6-5 in three overtimes in Humboldt, leaving Nipawin with a 3-1 series lead.

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SOURCE: CNN, Ralph Ellis, Dakin Andone and Carma Hassan