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Rebuilt Humboldt Broncos make SJHL playoffs after devastating bus crash

HUMBOLDT, Sask. — The rebuilt Humboldt Broncos hockey team is heading to the playoffs.
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team was devastated after its bus and a transport truck collided at a rural intersection almost a year ago….

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  • HUMBOLDT, Sask. — The rebuilt Humboldt Broncos hockey team is heading to the playoffs.

    The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team was devastated after its bus and a transport truck collided at a rural intersection almost a year ago.

    Sixteen people — including 10 players — were killed and 13 players were injured.

    Two surviving players returned this season, but the rest of the team was essentially built from scratch after a May training camp.

    The final games of the league’s regular season were held on Tuesday night.

    The Broncos finished sixth out of 12 teams with 35 wins in 58 games and 74 points.

    The Broncos will play the Estevan Bruins in the first playoff round  starting on March 15.

    “It will be a tough series,” Scott Barney, interim head coach of the team, said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “They’ve got a great team down there. They’ve got a lot of older, veteran players who have a lot of experience.”

    He said he marvels at how quickly his rebuilt team has bonded over the season and how players have turned that bond into success on the ice.

    “The guys came together pretty quickly out of training camp,” said Barney, who was assistant coach for the first half of the season. “It seems like they are all playing for each other.”

    Alternate captain Michael Clarke, who joined the team this year, said the Broncos have surpassed everyone’s expectations.

    “I don’t think many of us knew what we were getting ourselves into coming into the year — just with what happened and with so many new players being on the same team and not playing together, it was a bit of a learning curve,” the centreman said.

    Fans have filled the Elgar Petersen Arena to watch the Broncos play and others have cheered the team from afar as it rebuilt.

    Clarke, who was the top scorer with 71 points, said he thinks they have handled the outside pressure well.

    “We tried to shut that out and keep motivated within the room.”

    Clarke wears the “A” along with fellow centres Brayden Camrud and Derek Patter, the two survivors of the bus crash who are back on the team.

    “It’s good in the sense that it helps us relate to what happened even more,” he said. “Seeing two guys, Brayden and Derek, to be able to play through something like that and come back this year.

    “They want to play the game they love — it motivates the rest of the guys.”

    Camrud overcame a severe concussion, loss of feeling in one of his arms and neck issues. He had 27 goals and 28 assists during the regular season.

    Patter, who still struggles with a leg injury, had 10 goals and 11 assists.

    Barney said the three alternate captains have brought the rest of the team together.

    “Having the older players that we do have in the room has really made a big difference with our team,” he said.

    The Broncos lost their coach, Darcy Haugan, in the crash. His replacement, Nathan Oystrick, parted ways with the team in late December.

    Barney took over as interim head coach for the rest of the season. He said the players have adjusted well to the changes.

    “They seemed to buy in right away,” he said. “It showed in our performance.

    “We obviously didn’t want to change too much, so we just got them all believing in each other again, which is the biggest thing when someone new takes over.”

    Barney, a former professional hockey player from Oshawa, Ont., said he has high hopes for the playoffs.

    “I’ve got to keep the guys focused on the task at hand and obviously make things fun, too.”— By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton

    The Canadian Press

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    National

    Parties shop for housing ideas for platforms with issue high on voters’ lists

    OTTAWA — Federal parties are preparing to chase voters with ideas for dealing with what a new survey suggests is a major concern across the country: Housing affordability.
    The ideas being shopped around to stakeholders in the housing sector i…

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  • OTTAWA — Federal parties are preparing to chase voters with ideas for dealing with what a new survey suggests is a major concern across the country: Housing affordability.

    The ideas being shopped around to stakeholders in the housing sector include targeted spending towards certain groups, such as veterans, and more spending to increase the supply of lower-cost housing units to further cool housing prices.

    Last week, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said he would ease the mortgage stress-test the Liberals brought in and make it easier for homebuyers to borrow money, while eliminating red tape to help provinces and municipalities build more low-cost housing.

    Sources who have heard the detailed pitch, and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations, said they are still waiting on the details of Conservative plan.

    Meanwhile, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has repeatedly pushed the Liberals to immediately help build some 500,000 affordable housing units, but sources said the New Democrats are still working on how to pay for such a thing if they get elected and have to do it themselves.

    The struggle with affordability and the price of housing in some markets is shaping up to be a key campaign issue.

    A survey being released today, conducted for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, suggests the cost of housing is seen as having the largest effect on quality of life in Canadian cities.

    The polling from Abacus Data suggests that making housing more affordable is second only to improving roads and sewers as a priority voters have for all levels of government.

    Abacus chief executive David Coletto said worries about housing costs extend beyond big-city markets to rural communities as well.

    “There’s a sense that housing has become unaffordable and therefore that’s having an impact on the quality of life people have come to expect and seek,” he said.

    The survey of 5,106 Canadians aged 18 and over was conducted between March 14 and 28 using a random sample of members of online panels invited to complete the survey. Polling industry experts say online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not generate a random sample of the population.

    The municipal federation is hoping the results of the survey boost its bid in this election to secure a promise to revamp the financial relationship between Parliament and Canadian cities.

    Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s 2019 budget, the last before the fall vote, had a one-time doubling of federal transfers to municipalities from gas-tax revenues, to do an end-run around provincial governments that have been slow to apply for other infrastructure money. Municipalities have lobbied for that type of spending — cash transfers with few strings attached — to become the only way they receive funding, rather than requiring application-based programs.

    The survey results suggest that giving cities more direct money, rather than submitting specific projects for provincial and federal approval, has equal support from Liberal, Conservative and New Democrat voters and from respondents in urban, suburban and rural communities.

    “That doesn’t happen all that often. There are a handful of issues that I’ve been tracking over the last few years that show that kind of cross-party, cross-community-type consistency. It is really rare these days to find it,” Coletto said.

    “What this reflects is the quality of your roads, the quality of infrastructure, the quality of parks and communities you live in is not a Liberal, Conservative or New Democrat idea.”

    Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


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    National

    Ottawa will implement Senate proposals to strengthen accessibility law: minister

    Canada’s accessibility minister says the government will be acting on the Senate’s proposed recommendations to strengthen the country’s first piece of accessibility legislation for people with disabilities.
    Carla Qualtrough sent a letter to disabl…

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  • Canada’s accessibility minister says the government will be acting on the Senate’s proposed recommendations to strengthen the country’s first piece of accessibility legislation for people with disabilities.

    Carla Qualtrough sent a letter to disabled advocates saying the government planned to accept all the amendments senators had proposed for Bill C-81, also known as the Accessible Canada Act.

    Earlier this month, the Senate committee on social affairs, science and technology adopted several amendments that nearly a hundred disability organizations said were necessary to make the law effective.

    Chief among them was a call to set a timeline requiring the act to be fully implemented in all areas under federal jurisdiction by 2040, as well as recognition of sign language as an official language among deaf Canadians.

    The federal government had resisted some of those measures as the bill worked its way through the House of Commons, but Qualtrough says all proposed Senate amendments will now be included.

    The amended bill is expected to come back before Parliament for final consideration next week.

     

       

     

    The Canadian Press

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