‘Big little brother:’ Broncos head coach remembered for kindness, faith

Three funerals taking place for Humboldt Broncos killed in last week’s bus crash

Darcy Haugan was four years younger than his sister, but Deborah Carpenter says she always looked up to him as they were growing up.

“He was my big little brother. He was my hero,” she said from Humboldt, Sask., where his funeral service is to take place this afternoon at the Elgar Petersen Arena.

“He was just so gracious to me and kind to me and encouraging.”

Another funeral is being held in Humboldt today at the St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church for team statistician Brody Hinz. In Lethbridge, defenceman Logan Boulet will be remembered at a service at the Nicholas Sheran Ice Centre.

Haugan was head coach of the Humboldt Broncos. The junior hockey team’s bus and a semi-truck collided at a rural crossroads April 6 as the team was heading to a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game.

PHOTOS: British Columbians show their support for Humboldt with ‘Jersey Day’

Haugan, 42, was among the 16 who died. Thirteen were injured.

Carpenter said she and her brother grew up in a sports-loving household in Peace River, Alta. When it wasn’t hockey, it was baseball.

She wanted to take part, but she lacked the athletic prowess of her brother and father. She would sometimes tell her brother that she wished she could play like him.

“And he would say to me: ‘Deb, you have all the talent. You just haven’t had the opportunity to develop it.’

“How kind is that?”

By the time Haugan started playing junior hockey for the Fort Saskatchewan Traders, Carpenter was away at school, but she would travel to watch his games.

Once he started coaching, Haugan always made time to see his sister, even if it was just squeezing in a coffee at a Tim Hortons in Red Deer, Alta., where she lives.

The lessons he imparted to the young players on his team went beyond the ice, said Carpenter.

“At the end of the day, he obviously wanted them to succeed at hockey, but he also knew what it was going to take to succeed in life.”

Haugan was a devout Christian who would pray before work in his office and before bed with his sons Carson, 12, and Jackson, 9.

Carpenter said Haugan would tell his boys: “I don’t care if you play hockey. I don’t care what job you do. I don’t care about those things. I just care that you follow Jesus.”

“He never left things unsaid to his children, things that he felt were important that they know. And he would repeat them so that they knew it was important.”

When Haugan went out of town for a few days for a tournament, he would tell his eldest: ”All right, you’re the man of the house. Take care of your mom until I’m back.”

“So Carson is looking at this and saying, ‘My dad is gone and I want to take care of my mom,’” Carpenter said.

She said Haugan’s wife, Christina, is suffering, but she’s handling the tragedy with courage and grace. She is the office manager for the Broncos.

Carpenter said her brother lived as though every moment were his last, even though he couldn’t have known how little time he had.

“We think that things like this can’t happen, (that) we’re safe. And we live as though we have forever and we live recklessly and without thought.

“But Darcy lived intentionally and gave a thought to everything and everyone.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Langley hospital history recovered

After 16 years in storage, LMH memorial plaques added to museum in time for 70th anniversary party

Heat warning issued for Metro Vancouver

Inland areas expect to hit at least 26 degrees for daytime highs

VIDEO: Erikson’s Daylily Gardens and Perennials holds annual open house

Pam and Tom Erikson have 17th annual charitable fundraiser at their private Langley garden

Cloverdale horse barn goes up in flames

Fire crews work for hours to extinguish blaze on 184th Street

VIDEO: Open-to-all sprinter event for dogs comes to Langley

The second event of its kind in Canada since new rules were implemented

REPLAY: B.C.’s best video this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

5 to start your day

Heat warning issued, man climbs a crane, a dog-sprinting event, and more

Non-union construction industry fears exclusion in B.C.

Premier John Horgan imposes ‘project labour agreements’ for public works

Climber with broken leg rescued after fall into ravine near Hope

The 26-year-old had a flare to show rescuers where he was.

Trump, Putin sit down a bit late for closely watched summit

Trump and Putin arrived Monday at Helsinki’s presidential palace for a long-awaited summit.

In TV interview, Trump claims queen called Brexit ‘complex’

Asked the queen’s view on Brexit, Trump said: “She said it’s a very complex problem.”

Exotic corpse flower begins to emit its putrid scent at Vancouver conservatory

A unique and exotic tropical plant, acclaimed for its size and abhorred for its smell, is blooming at a Vancouver conservatory.

CREA reports June home sales down 10.7% from year ago, but up from May

The Canadian Real Estate Association says home sales in June were down 10.7 per cent compared with a year ago.

Tens of thousands give heroes’ welcome to Croatia team

Euphoria gave way to a mixture of disappointment and pride for Croatia fans after their national team lost to France in its first ever World Cup final.

Most Read