Bron­cos player set for re­turn to ac­tion

Tyler Smith suf­fered bro­ken bones and nerve dam­age down arm in tragic bus crash

StarMetro Calgary - - CANADA -

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

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