In the wake of the Humboldt bus crash, a BC Junior B hockey club has decided that it will no longer operate a team bus. Dean Samson, GM and CEO of the North Vancouver Wolf Pack in the Pacific Junior Hockey League, said the decision was already in the works even before the tragedy took place.
“Our league is quite different from Saskatchewan Junior or the BCHL where these kids are on busses all the time, going fair distances. We’re [only] in the Lower Mainland, so basically where ever we play they’re at home in their bed that night… We’re the only team that was running a bus because I think that there is a value to it, in terms of making a team more successful. We had made a decision, before this happened, that we were gonna really look at if [having a bus] was worth it…
Prior to the Humboldt crash, Samson spoke with some of his veteran players and asked them if having a team bus was at all a factor in deciding to join the Wolf Pack. The resounding answer was, “No,” it was not a factor in the slightest. And now, after the Humboldt crash that has claimed 16 lives, Samson’s decision was a clear one.
“So we had pretty much come to the decision that we were not going to run the [bus] this year, and then like 3 or 4 days later this horrible, devastating tragedy happened and that for me was it… I can relate to how [Kevin Garinger, Pres. of the Humboldt Broncos] must feel to see his kids drive off on a bus to go to their game very excited and then hours later to be wondering who’s alive and who isn’t, I couldn’t do that.”
The Wolf Pack’s decision may not have solely been based on the sad events that happened in Saskatchewan on April 6 to 16 young lives, but when it did happen, it was easy for Samson to see that no other decision could be made.
“If something happened with our bus, I’d carry that around with me for the rest of my life.”