Sister reflects on life of brother, Humboldt Broncos head coach

“He was a leader, he was a true, true leader”

photo submitted

The loss of Darcy Haugan, coach of the Humboldt Broncos, was not just the loss to his sister Deborah Carpenter of Red Deer, but a loss to the whole community.

“You think about your own loss and then you realize it’s compounded 29 times over with every family that’s out there that’s impacted,” said Carpenter in a recent interview with the Express.

Haugan was one of now 16 on a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos to their SJHL hockey playoff game April 6th that died when it collided with a semi-trailer.

Carpenter was at home with her family in Red Deer when she heard the news five and a half hours after the crash that her brother didn’t make it.

“It was seriously just like every other day. It flitted through my mind that there was another playoff game that night and Darcy’s team could face elimination and I was going, oh I hope they win,” said Carpenter about that horrible Friday night.

When she initially heard the news there’d been a bad accident, she told her children to come upstairs and pray for everyone, something her brother believed strongly in.

Carpenter said his love for God is what inspired him and developed him into the man he was.

She added that he was also very humble.

“He was just a great man. He was a leader, he was a true, true leader, and because he knew that, that came only from his relationship with God. He would never take credit for it,” she said.

Carpenter flew out to Saskatoon on Sunday to visit her parents, who live in Humboldt.

While enroute on the plane, Carpenter sat near Sheldon Kennedy, Peter Soberlak and Bob Wilkie, who were on the Swift Current Broncos bus that crashed in 1986, killing four players.

“I had the opportunity to make that plane trip with those men that listened to my stories about Darcy and shared with me their experiences. I was just very grateful for them for that time,” said Carpenter.

“You grow up in the hockey world and you kind of can tell who’s a hockey player,” she said with a laugh.

Growing up in Peace River, hockey was always a passion for Haugan.

“I graduated high school and went off into the great big world, and he was, at 14, also moving off into the great big world of hockey, playing junior hockey in Fort Saskatchewan and he played in St. Albert and Estevan.”

He later went off to university for a year and then played hockey, but Carpenter said it was a back injury that stopped him from pursuing his NHL dream.

He later went off to Briercrest College in Caronport, Saskatchewan for a degree in leadership.

“That dovetailed into becoming a hockey coach, and he just embraced that and it brought the best of both worlds together for him.”

Carpenter later moved to Red Deer when Haugan went back up to Peace River to coach the Junior B team, the Peace River Navigators.

Haugan was there for many years before getting the call to go up to the SJHL in 2015 to coach the Broncos.

Carpenter and Haugan’s father grew up in the Humboldt area and decided to retire there so they could be next to Haugan and his wife and two kids.

Even though Carpenter was a seven-hour drive away, Haugan always made the time to see her.

“We’d get to have supper or a quick coffee at the Timmys in Gasoline Alley.”

Carpenter now has those moments as memories she will keep with her.

After attending the recent vigil in Humboldt, one of the things that stuck out to Carpenter was amount of emotion heard after each name of the boys that didn’t make it was read.

“As each name was said you could hear the intake of air and these small gasps and cries that came up when they heard their child’s name or their family’s name,” she said.

The same went when her brother’s name was called.

“It just brought this involuntary response. It was a profound and heartbreaking experience just to be there.”

Carpenter said there’s a reason her brother profoundly impacted so many people.

She said he was a hero, not because of some great selfless act, but because he did countless things in small ways every single day.

“When I hear about what others are saying about him from his older years, I have to say that’s exactly the boy I knew, that’s the man I knew as my brother.”

Just Posted

Town of Eckville Council votes to pass new Land Use Bylaw

Land Use Bylaw Amendment 747-18 was passed after the public hearing on Mon., Sept. 24 at 7 p.m.

Eckville students brave the cold to participate in annual Terry Fox Run

Roughly 250 students ran the three kilometre course in support of cancer research.

128 Flags of Remembrance now flying in Sylvan Lake until Nov. 12

Centennial Park boasts 128 Canadian flags to honour 128,000 Canadians killed and missing in action.

New Habitat for Humanity project coming to Sylvan Lake

Habitat for Humanity Red Deer is spreading the word about the new build in Sylvan Lake

Local filmmaker works on documentary featuring women farmers

Red Deer woman receives $50,000 grant from STORYHIVE to produce documentary

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Ottawa working to iron out kinks in public alert system

The alerts are being credit with saving lives during last week’s tornadoes

Assault charge withdrawn vs. ex-Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna

Former Toronto player agrees to peace bond

UPDATED: Bill Cosby gets 3-10 years in prison for sexual assault

Judge also declared the disgraced comedian a ‘sexually violent predator’

U.S. worker charged after video shows him spitting on customer’s pizza

Jaylon Kerley of Detroit is charged with a felony count of food law violations

Robbery report at outlet mall turns out to be fake: police

Leduc RCMP respond to weapons complaint at premium outlet collection mall

Canada aiming for the moon, and beyond, with new space technology efforts

With an eye on future lunar exploration, Canada’s space agency is calling on companies to present their ideas for everything from moon-rover power systems to innovative mineral prospecting techniques.

New Brunswick Premier meets with lieutenant-governor as Tories, Liberals vie for power

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said the only other leader he had spoken with since results came in was Green Leader David Coon.

Most Read