Coroner's office misidentified victim in Humboldt hockey bus crash

ByESPN.com news services
April 10, 2018, 6:04 PM

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Justice announced Monday that the province's coroner's office misidentified one of the 15 people killed last week in the highway crash involving a junior hockey team bus.

The ministry announced that Parker Tobin, 18, has died and that Xavier Labelle, who previously had been identified as among the deceased, is alive.

The coroner's office apologized for "the misidentification and any confusion created by it."?The ministry did not say how the error occurred.

"Our condolences go out to the family of Parker Tobin," the ministry's statement said. "Unfortunately, Parker is one of the 15 that have lost their lives in this terrible tragedy. Parker had been misidentified and was previously believed to have survived."

Both Tobin and Labelle were members of the Humboldt Broncos team. The deceased also include coach Darcy Haugan, bus driver Glen Doerksen and nine other players.

The Broncos were en route to a playoff game Friday when a truck carrying peat moss collided with their bus. The players were between the ages of 16 and 21.

Fourteen people were injured in the crash. As of Monday afternoon, 12 remained in the hospital, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority;?four patients are in critical condition, four patients are in serious condition, and four patients are in stable condition.

The coroner's office also extended "its deepest sympathies to the families and friends of those who lost their lives as well as those who were involved in the collision."

Over the weekend, Tobin's family had tweeted that Parker was alive.?Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench called it "an unfortunate mistake."

"It's hard to comprehend that," he said.

Broncos club president Kevin Garinger said he was contacted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police early Monday about it and said the error makes a difficult situation more challenging.

"At this point, I just want to reach out and support the families," Garinger said. "It's not about understanding anything."

Labelle's father, Paul Labelle, told the Saskatoon Star Phoenix on Saturday that he arrived at the scene of the crash along with his wife and daughter.

Paul Labelle, an emergency room physician, told the StarPhoenix that after initially trying to assist police at the scene, he and his family continued on their trip to Nipawin, where the Broncos were scheduled to play their playoff game later Friday night.

The Labelle family told the paper that they eventually were informed that Xavier, 18, had died in the crash. Paul said Saturday that the family was "numb right now," while his wife, Tanya, told the paper that they were "devastated."

Monday's news came one day after the Humboldt community mourned the deceased during a vigil at the Broncos' home arena. Garinger choked back tears as he read out the names of the 15 dead. People embraced each other, crying. Tissue boxes were passed down rows. Flowers ringed the team logo at center ice. Pictures of the dead and injured were placed in front of the audience.

Team captain Logan Schatz, forwards Jaxon Joseph, Evan Thomas, Jacob Leicht, Logan Hunter and Conner Lukan, and defensemen Stephen Wack, Adam Herold and Logan Boulet were also among the dead, according to family members and others. Assistant coach Mark Cross, radio announcer Tyler Bieber and stats keeper Brody Hinz, who was 18, were also killed.

Nick Shumlanski, an injured player who was released from the hospital, attended the vigil wearing his white, green and yellow team jersey, with a bruise under his left eye.

On Sunday, those in the hospital received visits from Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Calgary Flames coach Glen Gulutzan, Edmonton Oilers coach Todd McClellan and former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy, who was a survivor of the 1986 bus crash involving the Swift Current Broncos junior hockey team.

Speaking to reporters in Humboldt on Monday about the visit, Kennedy choked up.

"To be able to have some conversations with some of those young people and their families and to be able to have a couple laughs and to be able to look in their eyes and tell 'em, you know, it's good to see a smile," Kennedy said. "To me, that stuff is important."

ESPN's Emily Kaplan and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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