Broncos player set for return to action
Tyler Smith suffered broken bones and nerve damage down arm in tragic bus crash
HUMBOLDT, SASK.—Humboldt Broncos player Tyler Smith had a broken collarbone, a broken shoulder blade and nerve damage down his left arm.
He was on the junior hockey team’s bus when it collided with a semi-trailer at a Saskatchewan intersection on the way to a playoff game. Sixteen people died.
Smith, now 20, was one of the 13 players who were hurt.
He has mostly recovered — other than some nerve damage in his left hand and wrist — and he plans to play Friday in his first game with the Broncos since the crash.
“I’m really excited, but, at the end of the day, I’m still pretty nervous,” Smith told The Canadian Press. “It’ll be OK after the first couple shifts, but that first shift is going to be a lot of emotions. Even before the game it’s going to be pretty emotional. We Play for Them is a really true statement ... I just really want to play for them.”
The six-foot-one, 185pound forward from Leduc, Alta., said he had juggled the idea of playing for the team again as he recovered from his injuries.
“I just want to get back to it,” he said. “A couple of weeks before I came, I decided to get up and go.”
He started practising with this year’s team, which includes Brayden Camrud and Derek Patter. They were the only two players who were involved in the crash who are back on the Broncos roster this season.
Smith was in Humboldt to watch the team’s emotional Sept. 12 home opener, but he said it was difficult to return as a player. The toughest part was being back in the dressing room — which still has the inspirational words of his former coach on the wall — without so many of his teammates.
Smith said having Camrud and Patter on the team was a huge help.
Read more on Tyler Smith’s return at thestar.com/canada