Humboldt Broncos bus crash hits close to home for Tisdale

The Swift Current Broncos and Moose Jaw Warriors came together to honour the Humboldt Broncos before their playoff game on April 7, 2018. STEVEN MAH/SOUTHWEST BOOSTER

The horrific bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos has affected the lives of many throughout the tight-knit hockey community across the prairies.

15 people are confirmed to have died in the accident involving the team’s bus as they travelled to Nipawin for playoff game. Friday’s tragedy was all too familiar to Swift Current’s Tim Tisdale, who survived the 1986 bus crash that killed his Swift Current Bronco teammates Trent Kresse, Scott Kruger, Chris Mantyka, and Brent Ruff.

“It was shock. You just don’t think something like that is going to happen. When you’ve been through it, believe me you don’t wish that on anybody. This is a lot bigger scale at the end of the day, which makes it that much more unfortunate. I am probably still in shock a little bit. It is just hard to wrap your head around it,” said Tisdale one day after the crash.

Tisdale said it was an extremely personal day as the 1986 bus crash was brought back to the forefront.

“It brought back a lot of memories, talking to old teammates today, sharing texts. Now it seems like it was yesterday. We really know what those players are going through and what the families are going through. They have got a long road ahead of them.”

The bus crash survivor had some thoughtful advice for those affected by the Humboldt Broncos’ tragedy.

“They are going to go through a lot. I know from personal experience that you go through every stage of grieving there is. You are going to be sad. You are going to be angry some days for no reason. You are going to feel guilt at some point. You just have to go through that. The biggest thing for me I would say is be around people, talk. The worst thing I found was being on my own. That’s when it was really the most difficult. If you want to help somebody just be there, you don’t even have to say anything, just be company. You would be amazed how much that helps,” said Tisdale.

One of the major differences between the two accidents 31 years apart was the way that news of the tragedy and the outpouring of support has spread across North America.

“It is really incredible how fast the word gets out now. Whether that’s a good thing or bad thing I’m not sure. The good thing is they have learned things from our experience. They have counsellors up there, they have people that they can talk to. They are way more prepared for an incident like this, not that that makes it any better. If there is any good that came out of our incident it is that they do know better how to handle these situations,” said Tisdale.