Xavier Labelle of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team attends a news conference in Las Vegas on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, John Locher

Humboldt Broncos player joins his hometown Saskatoon Blades as coaching assistant

One of the Humboldt Broncos hockey players injured in a bus crash that killed 16 people has joined his hometown Western Hockey League team as an assistant to the coaches.

One of the Humboldt Broncos hockey players injured in a bus crash that killed 16 people has joined his hometown Western Hockey League team as an assistant to the coaches.

The Saskatoon Blades say in a news release that Xavier Labelle, who is 18, has joined the major junior team as a hockey operations assistant.

Labelle suffered a fractured skill, a concussion, internal bleeding and 20 broken bones on April 6 when a transport truck collided with the junior hockey team’s bus in Saskatchewan.

Ten of his teammates died, and he was one of the 13 who were injured.

The team says Labelle, who spent the past two seasons with the Broncos, had attended Blades training camp in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

He graduated from high school at the end of June and joined the Blades hockey operations staff prior to this year’s training camp in August.

It was initially thought that Labelle had died in the crash, but it turned out he had been mixed up with another player.

His family has said they hold no ill will about the error.

In the Blades news release, Labelle said he was approached by the team when he was still in hospital recovering from the crash.

“Of course, I jumped at the opportunity,” he said. “I thought it would be great to remain involved in the game. I never really thought about coaching but being here around the staff and seeing what goes into this side of a team, it’s definitely piqued my interest.”

The team says Labelle will start by helping coaches with reviewing game footage, but he’s expected to take on more responsibilities going forward.

“I just started thinking about the boy and what we could do for him, and how we could help him,” said Blades general manager Colin Priestner. “We discussed the different opportunities, where his comfort level was, and it became quite clear he wanted to remain involved in the hockey operations.”

The team says Labelle will also have a role in the Blades’ pre-game tribute to the Broncos in their home opener on Sept. 22.

Related: Humboldt Broncos emerge from tragedy

Related: Humboldt Broncos player released from hospital

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

More funding for Harrison tourism projects on the horizon

Village could see increased funding by 2020

Most cows saved during massive fire on Agassiz farm thanks to fast work of farmers, neighbours

Agassiz Fire Department responded to late night call Wednesday

Risk of thunderstorm this afternoon for Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland

A special weather statement calls for heavy rain and wind over the next 48 hours

Massive fire destroys Agassiz dairy barn

Reports say at least one cow died in the blaze

Chilliwack firefighter seeking to reunite Rosedale VFD’s old auxiliary fire pump with antique engine

It’s been four decades, but Pat Liebault is hoping to reunite Rosedale’s auxiliary pump and engine

Conservation officer frees B.C. deer from flotation gear mishap

BC Conservation Officer Service is reminding residents to keep backyards clear of entanglements

Lions earn stunning 35-32 OT win over Ticats

Epic comeback lifts B.C. past Hamilton in CFL thriller

Czarnik nets 3 as Flames dump Canucks 5-2

Calgary picks up exhibition win over Vancouver

Ottawa to name new ambassador for women, peace and security, Freeland says

Chrystia Freeland also confirmed Canada would spend about $25 million to fund number of initiatives

‘A little bright spot:’ Ottawa residents rescue dog trapped beneath rubble

Freelance journalist says rescue of a dog trapped under rubble was happy ending amid chaos in Ottawa

B.C. deaf community wants different sign languages on federal accessibility act

Advocates also want Indigenous Sign Language to be recognized on the Indigenous Language Act

Remainder of Vancouver Whitecaps season filled with ‘must-win’ games: coach

With Vancouver currently sitting four points out of a post-season spot, each contest is crucial

VIDEO: B.C.-born firefighter remembered by MP in emotional speech

Family asks first responders to look after one another in wake of suicide, growing concerns of PTSD

Airline has ‘close call’ with drone while en route to B.C. airport

Jazz Aviation reported the drone sighting near Vancouver to the RCMP and Transport Canada

Most Read