LAS VEGAS — After another stellar playoff performance, Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury shared a tender moment with the sons of the Humboldt Broncos coach who was killed last month in a tragic bus crash.
Fleury met with Carson and Jackson Haugan, the sons of Broncos coach and general manager Darcy Haugan, in the Vegas locker room Wednesday night. Fleury let the boys try on his gear and talked to them about the game, a 4-2 Golden Knights win over the Winnipeg Jets that gave Vegas a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference finals.
Haugan was one of 16 killed when the Broncos — a junior hockey team in Saskatchewan — were involved in a bus crash while en route to a playoff game on April 6. Thirteen others were injured. Haugan's widow, Cristina, and their sons were guests of the Golden Knights on Wednesday night. They were introduced to the crowd on the giant video screen at T-Mobile Arena, sparking a loud ovation.
Fleury stopped 33 shots — including 15 out of 16 in the third period — to seal the win for the Golden Knights.
The Broncos tragedy reverberated across the hockey community and internationally. A GoFundMe account collecting funds for the team raised more than $15 million in less than two weeks, as more than 140,000 people donated from more than 80 countries. It is the second-largest GoFundMe campaign globally, trailing only the $21.5 million raised for the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund.
Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby wrote personal messages to each of the crash survivors. Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid were among several NHL players to pay visits to survivors and attended memorial services.
The Broncos announced last week that they would field a team for the 2018-19 season, and would begin their search for a new coach and general manager.
"Darcy Haugen was selfless, inspirational and motivating, building up his players to be great ambassadors and role models both on the ice and in the community," Broncos president Kevin Garinger said in a statement. "He was the coach every player wanted, and that other coaches wanted to emulate. As a general manager, Darcy made smart decisions and was driven to ensure the Broncos organization succeeded in every aspect of its operations. He took our team to new heights — it will be incredibly difficult to find someone that can rise to ?his standards."
An investigation into the crash is ongoing. A truck carrying peat moss crashed into the team bus. On April 19, the Saskatchewan Royal Canadian Mounted Police offered an update and said "significant resources are being" used to investigate the crash, though there is no timeline for the investigation to be completed. The RCMP said the truck driver has been cooperating with authorities, but it is unclear whether he blew past a stop sign or why he was in the middle of the intersection.
The team is holding a news conference on Thursday in Saskatoon to provide an update on the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund.