TORONTO – The NHL Coaches’ Association (the “NHLCA”), along with the global hockey community, was shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic accident on April 6, 2018 that claimed the lives of 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos, and left many others injured.
In a statement made on April 7, 2018, Mike Sullivan, President of the NHLCA, said, “Our hearts go out to the families, the Humboldt community, and to everyone affected by the fatal crash involving the Humboldt Broncos. This is a horrible tragedy that has deeply saddened the hockey community. I cannot imagine what these parents are going through. I know I speak for all NHL coaches when I say that our thoughts and prayers are with the families right now.” Mike Sullivan also shared that the NHLCA would be collecting donations from its members to help support the Humboldt community.
“The unwavering support across not only the Canadian hockey community, but globally, has been moving,” said Michael Hirshfeld, Executive Director of the NHLCA. “Through the tremendous support of our 31 head coaches and our members, we have raised CAD $75,000 in donations. With the additional generosity of Bauer Hockey, Recipe Unlimited (formerly Cara Operations), AGT Foods and Ingredients, and Federated Insurance, who jointly committed to match the amount of donations received from our members, we have now collectively raised $150,000 CAD that is being contributed to honouring those affected by this tragic event.”
Use of Funds Raised by the NHLCA in Support of Humboldt Broncos
The NHLCA, governed by the Executive Committee including Mike Sullivan (President), Mike Babcock, Peter DeBoer, and Jon Cooper, have setup an endowment and have determined three uses of the funds raised.
1. Support for the Families of the Broncos’ Coaching Staff
A meaningful donation was made in April 2018 directly to the families of the Humboldt Broncos’ Head Coach, Darcy Haugan, Assistant Coach, Mark Cross, and team statistician, Brody Hinz, all three of whom lost their lives during the devastating crash.
2. The Darcy Haugan / Mark Cross Memorial – CJHL Coach of the Year Award
The coach of the year award for the Canadian Junior Hockey League (the “CJHL”), which comprises 133 teams across Canada, including 12 in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, will henceforth be named the “Darcy Haugan / Mark Cross Memorial – CJHL Coach of the Year Award.” This annual award will honour a CJHL head coach who has combined on-ice success with impactful community involvement, as voted upon by the CJHL Board. Each year, the recipient of the award will be honoured with a CAD $5,000 contribution to their team on behalf of the NHLCA. Additionally, Bauer Hockey will donate CAD $5,000 worth of equipment to the recipient’s team.
3. Invitation to the NHLCA Global Coaches’ Clinic
The recipient of the award, as well as their assistant and volunteer coaches, will be invited as honourary guests to join the NHLCA at their annual Global Coaches’ Clinic held in conjunction with the NHL Draft™.
“We believe these three initiatives directly align with the NHLCA’s mission of supporting the development of coaches from the youth level up to the highest levels of hockey”, said Michael Hirshfeld. “We hope they will leave a long and lasting legacy recognizing Darcy Haugan, Mark Cross and Brody Hinz, their families, and the entire Humboldt Broncos organization.”
Added Mike Babcock: “Currently there are 8 NHL coaches who spent time during their careers coaching in the CJHL, and all of us grew up playing or coaching in the junior league. Community hockey coaches are vitally important to the development and growth of today’s young hockey talent on the ice and in their communities. We are steadfast in our commitment and support of these leaders and role models at every level of the game.”
“The CJHL is eternally grateful on behalf of our program, for the consideration put forward by the NHLCA, to recognize two coaches who exercised tremendous positive influence over so many young men, both within the arena, and outside,” said Brent Ladds, President of the CJHL. “It is fitting that they be recognized as such, within the coaching fraternity, and that so many others will benefit from their legacy.”
Earlier this year at the 2018 NHL Awards, Darcy Haugan was recognized with the inaugural Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award, presented to the person who best utilizes hockey as a platform for participants to build character and develop important life skills. Throughout his career, Haugan and his coaching staff were focused on helping players become well-rounded and better people.