Former North Peace Navigators coach Darcy Haugan has been honoured by the National Hockey League. The Humboldt Broncos coach was among the 16 people killed in the April 6th bus crash and was posthumously given the Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award at the 2018 NHL Awards in Las Vegas Wednesday night.
Haugan’s window Christina Haugan accepted the award on his behalf, surrounded by 10 of the 13 survivors. In her speech she said she was honoured to accept the award, not because of the tragedy, but because of what he did every day before that.
“Darcy used the game of hockey, which he was so passionate about, as a tool to help shape young lives,” she said. “He developed a core covenant which was painted on the wall outside the Broncos’ dressing room. It reads as follows:
Treat my teammates and coworkers with respect.
Be thankful for the opportunity to wear the Bronco jersey.
Play each game and practice with passion and determination.
Conduct ourselves with honesty and integrity.
Treat all volunteers, billets, sponsors and fans with respect and gratitude.
Understand that we are building foundations for future generations with our words and actions.
Always have hope and believe that everything is possible.
Always give more than you take.
Strive for greatness in all areas of life.”
Haugan was the GM and head coach of the Navigators from 2003 to 2015, when he moved to be the head coach of the Broncos. A memorial is in the works for the Town of Peace River.
The other finalists for the new NHL award were Debbie Bland, who is the co-founder/builder of the Etobicoke Dolphins Girls Hockey League, and Neal Henderson, the founder of the Fort Dupont Hockey Club. It is meant for the nominee who best uses hockey as a platform for people to build character and develop important life skills. Fans voted for the winner online.
A tribute to the Broncos was also played at the award ceremony. The trip for the survivors and their families was sponsored by the NHL, Air Canada, and the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.