The crew of the Canadian frigate HMCS Regina have found a creative way to pay tribute to a Saskatchewan youth hockey club devastated by a deadly bus crash last year.
The crew has named its new CH-148 Cyclone helicopter after Humboldt Broncos in honour of the 16 people who died and 13 people who were injured when the team’s bus crashed into a truck that had run through a stop sign on a rural Saskatchewan road last year.
The crash touched a raw nerve with many Canadians across the country who donated millions of dollars to various funds created to support the victims of the bus crash and their families, organized impromptu memorials and put out hockey sticks in honour of the devastated team.
“It was a really good opportunity to support not only the players and the families as well as the city but it also gave us some determination and something to strive towards,” Maj. Jason Newton, the ship’s air officer, told CBC News. “We can never forget about these things that happened back home and the little things in life that we really need to appreciate.”
The air crew of the newly baptized Bronco is no stranger to adversity itself.
In February, the helicopter made a hard landing on board a resupply ship, Naval Replenishment Unit (NRU) Asterix, that accompanies it on its current deployment.
HMCS Regina is currently deployed in the western Indian Ocean.
On Saturday, a boarding party from HMCS Regina seized 2,569 kilograms of hashish from a fishing vessel used by drug smugglers off the coast of Oman.
HMCS Regina is operating in the region as part of the Canadian-led Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150). It’s one of the three task forces under Combined Maritime Forces, a U.S.-led naval coalition of 33 nations that works to disrupt terrorist organisations and their related illegal activities in international waters in the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and Indian Ocean.
With files from David Shield of CBC News