It was an extremely emotional night in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.
The Humboldt Broncos hit the ice on Wednesday night for the first time since a bus crash claimed the lives of 16 members of the team and injured 13 more.
The eyes of the hockey world were on the small Saskatchewan town, with a sold-out crowd at the rink and national television audiences watching in Canada and the United States.
Many of the surviving members of last year’s team participated in a ceremonial faceoff before the start of the game. Two of them—Brayden Camrud and Derek Patter—are on the team again this season.
When the game against the Nipawin Hawks began, it was the Broncos who struck first. Michael Clarke found the back of the net and the crowd erupted.
Nipawin scored two unanswered goals but the Broncos had a chance to tie the game after a big faceoff win in the final seconds.
After the game, the team held a ceremony honoring the 29 victims of the crash. Banners with the names of all those killed and injured will be raised to the rafters of the rink.
“We know that, while the darkness is much less, it will never truly leave us as it holds the love that we have left for those who are no longer with us and those who have been impacted by this tragedy,” Broncos president Kevin Garinger said, according to the CBC. “But we will forever cherish their memories and honor their legacy and, as hard as it has been, we have and will continue to move forward with them and because of them.”