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Humboldt applies for government help to fund $35M Broncos tribute centre

The City of Humboldt is taking another step forward with its proposed Broncos tribute centre. 

On May 5, Humboldt city council approved submitting an application to the provincial and federal initiative known as the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).

Humboldt city manager Joe Day said ICIP funding could cover up to 73 per cent, roughly $25 million, of the $35-million project.

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“We see the remaining $10 million or so coming from some contributions from the city itself, partners that we’re working with to invest in the complex, plus a lot of interest from charitable donors and philanthropy opportunities,” Day said. 

Day added that national corporations, such as grocery and fast-food chains, have also reached out to support the project. 

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The city’s vision for the 100,000 square-foot centre includes a multi-purpose ice and event arena, community-use spaces, and fitness and therapy rooms.

It will also prominently feature a tribute gallery to the 2017-18 Humboldt Broncos hockey team and those who helped in the aftermath of the tragic bus crash on April 6, 2018. Sixteen people died and 13 were injured when the Broncos’ team bus collided with a semi that did not stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335.

“We really want to provide a place where the public can come and visit and see that we appreciate everything that was done for us,” Day said.

“There’s so many stories to tell about the inspirations that came out in the days and weeks following that event.” 

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Humboldt city manager Joe Day shows off concept images of a proposed $35-million Broncos tribute centre on May 12, 2022. (CBC)

A permanent roadside memorial near the crash site is included within the $35-million tribute project.

“The proposed Tribute Centre and the Roadside Memorial would also be places of spiritual, emotional and mental healing,” said Carol Brons, whose daughter Dayna died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Twenty-five-year-old Dayna was the Broncos athletic therapist, and is remembered for her loving personality, tenacity and sense of humour. 

“Our hope is that the values that guided the 2017-18 Broncos will continue to inspire our kids to become better teammates and future leaders,” Brons said.

A decision on the ICIP funding application is expected within the next several months.

Serving the next generation

On a practical level, the tribute centre will provide some much-needed support for local hockey programs.

“We are finding that some of our local teams are having to go outside of the community for as much as 20 per cent of what is their home-game representation,” Day said. 

“So there’s definitely a need in our community for a second ice surface to satisfy that need for ice time.”

Day noted that with Humboldt’s location in central Saskatchewan, surrounding communities, rural municipalities and First Nations will also benefit from the centre’s practical purpose.

“We see a lot of the youth and adults from the surrounding areas that take advantage of the recreational and cultural services that we’re able to provide, and we really appreciate that,” Day told CBC News.

He added that it’s possible the centre could be used to host events such as the Saskatchewan summer and winter games, along with conventions. 

In a news release last week, the city noted it will reach out to existing users and potential new users to learn more of what their needs and aspirations are for the new facility.

It will also continue to refine the concept plan, discuss operating and funding agreements with partners, and formalize fundraising pledges. 

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