Despite tragedy, Humboldt Broncos to field team for 2018-19 season

The Humboldt Broncos will field a team for the 2018-19 season, they announced Friday.

The junior hockey team in Saskatchewan was involved in a fatal bus crash in April. Sixteen people died -- including Darcy Haugen, the Broncos' head coach and general manager -- and 13 others were injured. Humboldt began its search for a new coach and GM this week.

"Darcy Haugen was selfless, inspirational and motivating, building up his players to be great ambassadors and role models both on the ice and in the community," Broncos president Kevin Garinger said in a statement. "He was the coach every player wanted, and that other coaches wanted to emulate.

"As a general manager, Darcy made smart decisions and was driven to ensure the Broncos organization succeeded in every aspect of its operations. He took our team to new heights -- it will be incredibly difficult to find someone that can rise to
 his standards."

The team also announced it will hold an invite-only tryout for 80 prospective players on May 25-27 in Saskatoon. The camp will not be open to the media or public.

Tickets for the 2018-19 Broncos season are going on sale soon. While the team said "demand is expected to be high," they will make "every effort" to ensure 2017-18 season-ticket holders get right of refusal on their seats.

The bus tragedy reverberated across the hockey community. A GoFundMe account collecting funds for the Broncos raised more than $15 million in less than two weeks, as more than 140,000 people donated from more than 80 countries. It is the second-largest GoFundMe campaign globally, trailing only the $21.5 million raised for the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.

Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby wrote personal messages to each of the crash survivors. Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid were among several NHL players to pay visits to survivors and attended memorial services.

An investigation into the crash is ongoing. A truck carrying peat moss crashed into the team bus, which was en route to a playoff game.

On April 19, the Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police offered an update and said "significant resources are being" used to investigate the crash, though there is no timeline for its completion. The RCMP said the truck driver has been cooperating with authorities, but it is unclear if he blew past a stop sign or why he was in the middle of the intersection.