By Mick Holien
Road trips especially by bus with your brothers promise possibly to be the worst of times given the distance, time and often cramped conditions.
But most athletes will tell you such journeys often are just the opposite – the best of times where team building, camaraderie and often tomfoolery dominate making the time fly by.
Such ventures jumped to the forefront over the weekend with the shocking news from western Canada of the tragic bus crash that claimed the lives of 14 members of a junior hockey team making just a couple hour trips to the site of their next playoff game.
Another dozen or so Humbolt Canadian junior team members were injured, some critically and taken to Saskatoon hospitals after a semi tractor trailer plowed into the team’s bus late Friday afternoon in Saskatchewan.
Law enforcement reports obtained by CBS News say the semi T-boned the team bus, filled with players 16 to 21, en-route to Nipawn for a semi final game.
Humbolt is a hockey centered town with a population of about 6,000
Not only did news of the crash bring me back to a myriad of such Grizzly trips, which usually are limited by league rule to 500 miles.
Much of the travel in basketball occurs in rental cars but there were several scrapes in rental busses where either a sleepy or inattentive driver received a wakeup from an administrator or coach.
We have all sent our youngsters down the highway and byways in the middle of the night crisscrossing the vast expanses of our state and I suppose get to where we just anticipate they will rerun safely.
A similar crash in 1986 claimed lives of the same named “Bronco” hockey team and brought back trips of my own chasing down the road following the Spokane Comets, Jets and Flyers as they battled hockey crazed border towns like Rossland, Trail ,Cranbrook , Nelson and Kimberley.
What the burg of Humbolt is facing will affect hockey and sports for decades much like the crash of the Spokane baseball club team bus more than 80 years ago.
The 1946 fiery bus crash is reportedly the worst land accident in professional sports history when nine died on what then was a two-lane highway on Snoqualmie Pass when the bus left the road and fell more than 300 feet before catching fire.
My first Spokane baseball game was in April 1958 and I joined most Spokane baseball purists who if they didn’t know firsthand learned of the fatal crash.
But the last survivor has died, memories fade Spokane baseball has somewhat move on. But we hold those deaths in our conciseness. Remember plane crashes involving football teams from Cal Poly SLO and of course there was Marshall.
Humbolt faces a similar fate. Everyone in town knew someone on that bus. Just sayin’
Tomorrow on imo passing of a couple of legends.