Manitobans are marking one year since the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy.
Sixteen people were killed and 13 were injured after the Saskatchewan hockey team’s bus collided with a semi driven by a novice trucker who had blown the stop sign at a rural intersection on April 6, 2018.
In Brandon Saturday, David and Noreen Maguire said they were one of three couples who laid yellow roses on a bench honouring the victims and player Evan Thomas, 18, who died in the collision.
The Maguires have been friends with his grandparents, Frank and Betty Thomas, who live in Brandon for 20 years.
“I think this is a Canadian thing. Hockey is a Canadian thing. For every parent that puts a child on the bus, this is a huge thing,” said Noreen in a phone call with CTV News.
Along with the roses, the couples placed a mini stick from the Humboldt funeral on the bench.
David said the bench was created by a group of people in the community and sits outside the Keystone Centre in Brandon. It has a ramp going toward it which makes it easy to visit all year round and has some trees and bushes around it.
“It’s lovely. It’s a good representation of the city of Brandon,” said David.
“It’s just wonderful to go by to say a little word or wave every time you by,” said Noreen.
The Maguires said it was important for them to mark one since year since the tragedy because of their connection to the Thomas family, but even if they didn’t they would be thinking about it.
“We’re hoping some good has come out of this. That there is going to be better regulation, try and to look at the positive parts of it,” said Noreen.
“I hope that everyone in their individual lives, thinks about what’s important.”
The Maguires also helped create a shrine at the Evan Thomas’ grandparents Brandon home after the crash one year ago.
At the time, the crash struck a chord with hockey-loving Canadians and moved people around the world to put hockey sticks on their front porches in solidarity with the Humboldt community.
In the past year, more than $15 million was donated for the victims’ families.
A service led by the team’s pastor is being held at the Humboldt arena Saturday, where rows of yellow banners hang above the main entrance with the names of all 29 people who were on the bus that day.
-With files from The Canadian Press.