A deadly bus crash involving a junior hockey team and united a country in grief has been voted the top news story of 2018 in Canada.
In an annual survey by The Canadian Press, the Humboldt Broncos’ bus crash on April 6 that claimed 16 lives and injured 13 others got 53 votes from the 129 media news directors and editors that cast ballots.
The legalization of recreational cannabis in October finished in a close second with 51 votes.
The Broncos were on their way to a playoff game in Nipawin, Saskatchewan, when it was hit by a semi-trailer at a rural highway intersection just north of the community of Tisdale.
Aerial footage of the crash showed a gruesome scene and killed ten players, two coaches, a trainer, the team’s radio broadcaster, statistician and bus driver.
While some of the survivors have recovered back to health including some that are back playing with the Broncos this season, others suffered serious injuries including two being paralyzed and two with serious brain injuries.
The driver of the semi-truck, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary, is charged with 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm.
Sidhu will be back in court January 8.
On Tuesday morning, his lawyer was granted a request for more time to go over disclosure recently received from the Crown Tuesday morning.
The outpouring of support for the crash victims stretched across the hockey-mad nation, and people from more than 80 countries donated $15 million through GoFundMe accounts.
A movement was started in the days following the tragedy for people across Canada to leave their hockey sticks outside their homes in memory of those lost in the crash.
Saskatchewan radio stations CJME and CKOM news director Murray Wood said, “no story affected Canadians in 2018 more than the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.”
Wood added legalizing marijuana was landmark legislation, but it mostly arrived with a shrug.
Charlottetown’s Guardian newspaper editorial page editor Bill McGuire said, “the aching void of unrealized potential, the memorial services, and the fundraisers captured the interest of Canadians _ in an event basically unmatched since Terry Fox’s death in the middle of his Marathon of Hope almost 40 years ago.”
With files from the Canadian Press.