North Peace Navigators looking to erect statue of former coach killed in Humboldt bus accident

PEACE RIVER — The North Peace Navigators (NWJHL) have applied to Northern Sunrise County for additional funding needed to build a statue to commemorate the contributions of their former coach and GM, Darcy Haugan.

Darcy was most recently the head coach of the Humboldt Broncos when their team bus was involved in the now infamous bus accident last April, in which Haugan along with fifteen other people tragically lost their lives.

The donation request by Navs’ owner and president Albert Cooper states that the club is seeking $5,000 to $15,000 dollars to erect the statue, which if built would be located at the new Recreation Centre currently under construction in Peace River. Cooper says the statue will be constructed by an Alberta based artisan from Cochrane, with the company having built similar memorials such as the statues at the Fallen Four Memorial Park in Mayerthorp.

To this date, the Navs have secured $70,000 of the $85,000 needed for the project.

Raised in Peace River, Darcy Haugan was a founding member of the North Peace Navigators back in the year 2000. Haugan, along with current president Albert Cooper, would build the franchise from the ground up and create an exceptional program that focuses on helping develop young men on and off the ice. Three years after the creation of the Navs, Darcy would take over as head coach and general manager, leading the Navs to five NWJHL championships between 2003 and 2015.

Darcy along with his wife Christina would work tirelessly throughout their time in Peace River, constantly volunteering their time while cooking meals and even housing players.

Following the 2014/2015 season Darcy and his family would move on to Humboldt, where Haugan would take over as head coach of the Humboldt Broncos SJHL team the following season. It would be almost two full years after his move to Humboldt, when the community would be struck by a tragedy felt by the entire hockey world.

On April 6th 2018 during the SJHL playoffs, the Broncos were on their way to a Game five against the Nipawin Hawks when their team bus would be struck by a semi-truck on Highway 35 near Armley, Saskatchewan. Sixteen people including Darcy Haugan would pass away as result of the collision, while another thirteen suffered serious to critical injuries.

According to a letter sent from Navs’ owner Albert Cooper to Northern Sunrise County, Darcy worked hard to instill incredible values into the young men he coached, which was supported by the over 100 alumni that attended his funeral. Cooper goes on to write that Darcy left a lasting impact on the players he coached, those he competed against, and in the community he loved.

So far the Navs have secured financial partners in Baytex ($25,000 donated), the Town of Peace River ($5,000), Finning ($10,000), Kal Tire ($5,000), Boucher ($1,000), Humboldt ($5,000), Badger Lighting ($5,000), Cooper Family ($5,000) and the Friedel Family ($5,000).

–Alex Rodgerson, Trending 55 News

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