Haliburton supports Humboldt hockey family
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | April 12, 2018|
Haliburton’s Kenny Trenton will board a plane for Humboldt, Sask. tomorrow - to bid farewell to friend, Darcy Haugan, one of 15 people killed when a transport collided with a hockey bus last week in the prairie province.
The Moose FM announcer met and befriended Haugan in 2005. At the time, Haugan was coaching the Peace River Navigators and Trenton was starting his first full-time radio gig. Trenton would move on to become the voice of the Humboldt Broncos, between 2006-2009, logging countless kilometres on the team bus. He told The Highlander this week that when he heard about the tragedy last Friday and into the early hours of Saturday morning, he was simply “numb.”
As word trickled out that the truck had struck the front of the bus, he had a sinking feeling, knowing that the coaches ride up front. “I almost knew that Darcy was going to be one of the casualities.”
He was. And, so, with a heavy heart, Trenton will be there Saturday for the team funerals. After moving to Peace River, “Darcy was the first person outside of [the radio] station I was introduced to,” Trenton said in an interview on Tuesday. He said he was a humble, down-to-earth guy.
“This is somebody who really reached out to me ... a nervous kid taking his first opportunity, calling hockey, being away from friends and family, being in a completely new environment. The first time I met him, he just opened up a warmth to me.”
Trenton recalls being nervous about approaching the coach after the first hockey game he covered, and having that respected coach put him at ease by complimenting his hockey knowledge. Trenton said he was a winning coach who had a way with his players. After a bad game in Fort St. John, Trenton recalls a quiet Haugan coming on the bus and asking his players what they thought of the game, and whether they found their performance acceptable - only to have the players open up about how they could have played better.
The coach then said he obviously didn’t need to say anything more. The team then went on a winning streak. “He didn’t need to yell, he didn’t need to scream, he didn’t need to say much. He had that kind of respect for his men, he didn’t call them boys, it was up to his men to figure it out themselves and they did.”
During his time in Humboldt, he called many games in the arena and saw the team raise three championship cups. He said it is a team with a winning tradition and high standards. He also said it reminds of him Haliburton. “The only thing that’s missing is maybe a Junior A hockey team.” He still has friends there. When Trenton posted on Facebook about his connection to both the Broncos and Haugan, and that he might not be able to make it to the Saturday funerals, Amanda Virtanen launched a GoFundMe page to help Trenton make it out west.
“To me, that shows that this is probably the most tight-knit community I’ve lived insince I lived out west. You don’t expect that kind of kindness in this day and age. This is a really special area ... that people would actually take that on and help me out.”
When he goes, Trenton said he’ll wear his Haliburton tartan tie along with his Peace River Navigators hockey jersey, to bring a piece of Haliburton with him as he pays his respects to both the Peace River and Humboldt hockey communities. He said a lot of the hockey community might think twice about stepping on a team bus again but he doesn’t think that’s what Haugan would want.
“He’d say ‘if you want to be a hockey player, and this is what you’re committed to doing, you get on that bus and you just make it happen’.”
Meanwhile, Haliburton’s family of schools will show their support for Humboldt today by wearing hockey jerseys, or other sports jerseys to school. Other community members have been putting hockey jerseys and hockey sticks outside to show their support.
“Life is precious and you never know what can happen.”
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.