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Rebuilt Humboldt Broncos make SJHL playoffs after devastating bus crash

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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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Leaders, moderators confirmed for 2019 English, French debates

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federal debate

OTTAWA — Five party leaders have confirmed they will participate in two major televised election debates in October, the media group producing the events announced Tuesday.

The Canadian Debate Production Partnership said Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, Green party Leader Elizabeth May and the Bloc Quebecois’ Yves-Francois Blanchet will all attend the English debate Oct. 7 and the French one Oct. 10.

Both events are to be held at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que. Election day is Oct. 21.

The Leaders’ Debates Commission, an independent body set up to organize the debates this year, sent invitations to the five confirmed leaders last week but did not offer a spot to Maxime Bernier, leader of the People’s Party of Canada.

The PPC did not meet criteria established by the federal government for participation in the debates, the commission found. But the commission gave the party until Sept. 9 to provide further evidence that they have a chance at winning multiple seats in the fall, which could earn Bernier a spot at the events.

In its announcement Tuesday, the partnership also revealed the moderators for the English debate: CBC’s Rosemary Barton, Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star, Global’s Dawna Friesen, CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme and Althia Raj of HuffPost Canada.

Patrice Roy of Radio-Canada will moderate the French debate, along with journalists from French outlets Le Devoir, Le Soleil, La Presse and L’Actualite.

Also on Tuesday, Maclean’s magazine announced it will partner with Citytv to hold a debate Sept. 12 in Toronto. Maclean’s said leaders for the Tories, NDP and Greens have confirmed their participation so far.

“The Liberals have not yet confirmed Justin Trudeau’s participation but an invitation remains open and the debate will go forward regardless,” the magazine said in a post on its website.

Columnist Paul Wells will moderate the debate, which will focus on the economy, foreign policy, Indigenous issues, and energy and the environment.

The Sept. 12 date makes the Maclean’s event the first major debate in the election period, though it remains unclear precisely when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to officially fire the starting gun. The latest he can do so is Sept. 15.

Christian Paas-Lang, The Canadian Press



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Music composer from France killed by bear while working in northern Canada

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Julien Gauthier

YELLOWKNIFE — A Canadian composer living in France has been killed while working in the Northwest Territories.

French media reports say Julien Gauthier was attacked last week by a bear.

The RCMP did not name the victim but said the body of a man was found on Friday after a bear attack near Tulita along the Mackenzie River.

The Brittany Symphony Orchestra in northwest France posted a statement on Facebook announcing the death of its associate artist.

The symphony said Gauthier had been collecting sounds in the remote region and was travelling with a researcher he had met in the Antarctic.

The post said Gauthier wanted to use music to show his love and respect for nature.

“His work was faithful to his inquisitive mind, humble in front of the vast power and beauty of nature,” said the post written by Marc Feldman, a manager with the symphony.

“I am extremely happy to have known Julien. He brought me a sense of adventure, wonder and a rare intelligence. I am going to miss him terribly. We still had so much road to travel together.”

Gauthier’s web page says he also taught music at the Gennevilliers Conservatory and worked with the Paris Philharmonic.

The Canadian Press

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august, 2019

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