Humboldt Broncos coach steps down during first season after tragic bus crash
HUMBOLDT, Sask. -- Nathan Oystrick has stepped down as head coach and general manager of the Humboldt Broncos.
The 36-year-old Regina native was hired in July, three months after 16 members of the junior hockey team -- including former coach Darcy Haugan -- were killed when the team's bus and a semi-truck collided at a rural intersection on the way to a playoff game.
In a tweet, Oystrick said: "Despite the extreme stress and constant pressure of working with the organization, I gave them everything I possibly could and am proud of their performance, and mine, this season."
Oystrick said more information would follow.
A statement released by the Broncos Friday said the team and Oystrick have decided to "part ways."
The organization has named Scott Barney, 39, as interim head coach for the rest of the season. Barney, a former professional hockey player from Oshawa, Ont., was working as an assistant coach alongside Oystrick.
"The Broncos' wish to thank Nathan for his work with the organization and wish him the very best in all his future endeavours," said the statement.
Neither Oystrick or the team have said why they have decided to part ways.
The Broncos are fourth in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League with a record of 21-13-2-1 this season.
Prior to becoming a coach, Oystrick played in the NHL with the Atlanta Thrashers, St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks.
Oystrick was one of more than 50 applicants for the Broncos' coaching job.
"What I appreciate about Nathan in general is that he is committed to people first," former team president Kevin Garinger said when Oystrick was hired. "And through the commitment to people, comes a commitment then to an organization, a community and ultimately a hockey team."
Garinger could not be reached for comment Friday.
The team's 2018-19 season opener was shown across the country on TSN.
The Broncos were chosen as newsmaker of the year and news story of the year in 2018 in an annual survey by The Canadian Press.
I have stepped away from the Humboldt Broncos. Despite the extreme stress and constant pressure of working with the organization, I gave them everything I possibly could and am proud of their performance, and mine, this season.— Nathan Oystrick (@Oystie74) December 28, 2018
I will issue a proper statement shortly.