Humboldt bus crash survivors reflect on season back with the team
A pair of Humboldt Broncos bus crash survivors who returned for the next season say their bond has grown substantially since the crash.
Derek Patter and Brayden Camrud were among the 29 Broncos players and coaching staff who were travelling to a game on April 6, 2018 when a semi-trailer truck collided with the team bus, killing 16 passengers and injuring the others.
Patter and Camrud were injured in the crash, but recovered well enough to return to the team in September as assistant captains.
"We just wanted to do everybody in that arena proud and do all the boys up there proud,” Camrud told CTV News. “It was just an incredible moment.”
Camrud and Patter said their relationship since the crash has evolved from teammates to brothers and that they now look to each other for comfort.
“We sit directly across from each other in the room and sometimes for me, it was just looking up and looking at him and just knowing that he was there for me,” Camrud said.
Patter and Camrud were not the only crash survivors to return to the Broncos. Tyler Smith played 10 games with the team, but decided to step away in order to continue his recovery at home.
Grayson Cameron, who did not play this season, could potentially return to the team next year.
The Broncos finished the regular season in sixth place overall, but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs following a heartbreaking overtime loss in Game 7.
Camrud finished the season with 55 points in 48 games. Patter notched 21 points in 53 games.
In a season full of highs and lows, Camrud said some of the most challenging moments were back on the team bus.
“There was one trip where I was having a really bad time and we were only about 20 minutes out from Humboldt, but I was like: ‘I can't be on this thing anymore,’ it was really stressing me out,” he said. “Derek looked over at me and was like: ‘We are almost home, you’re are going to be ok.’”
Patter and Camrud have now hung up their Broncos jerseys and are focusing on the next chapter of their lives.
“You’re living your life for more than just yourself now,” Patter said. “You’re living life to represent 29 people and 29 families and I think that’s how I want to live the rest of my life.”