HUMBOLDT, SK – The same day it received news that one of the players involved in last week’s bus crash had been released from hospital, this town that has endured so much already was hit with tragedy once again with news of the death of 25-year-old Dayna Brons, the Humboldt Broncos athletic therapist who succumbed to her injuries in a Saskatchewan hospital Wednesday afternoon. That brings the death toll in the crash to 16.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority put out a statement on behalf of the Brons family Wednesday afternoon. “The family of Dayna Brons would like to share that Dayna passed away peacefully this afternoon as a result of her injuries,” the statement said. “She was surrounded by those she loved and those who loved her.”
Brons was in only her second season with the team, but had already made an impact on the organization. A native of nearby Lake Lenore who returned home after getting her degree in kinesiology and health studies from the University of Regina and an advanced certificate in athletic therapy from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Brons was intent on making a difference. “Just one of those people you wanted involved,” said Broncos vice-president Randy MacLean. “From the area, invested and passionate about the Broncos. But even more than important, passionate about our kids and passionate about what Darcy (coach Haugen, who also died in the crash) was doing. It was just magical to watch.”
And the fact that she also had to serve as the team’s equipment manager along with her duties as athletic therapist did not faze her one bit.
“She was outstanding,” MacLean said. “And the stuff she didn’t know, she learned. From managing a stick budget to managing a tape budget to managing an equipment budget. She wore multiple hats, doing orders and managing inventory. She was incredibly efficient.”
As the only woman surrounded by men, Brons was not shy about keeping the players to their regimens when they were injured or were supposed to be working out. She was passionate about getting the players what they needed to be at their best and if they were injured, to get back healthy. That, MacLean said, earned her the respect of the players and the coaching staff, who had complete confidence in her abilities and judgment. But with that respect also came a lot of ribbing from the players, who would constantly have fun at her expense.
“They teased her. Oh, they teased her mercifully,” MacLean said. “They would torture her. Teenage boys, you know what I mean? They’d be at a restaurant on the road and start singing Happy Birthday to her or tell the owner it was her birthday, even though it wasn’t her birthday. But they loved her and she loved them.”
The news of Brons death came not long after it had been announced that Brayden Camrud had been released from hospital. It’s believed that nine people are still in hospital in Saskatoon. Two remain in critical condition.
Want more in-depth features and expert analysis on the game you love? Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.