“You don’t imagine something like this will happen.” ETSB Principal turned Humboldt Broncos VP reflects on the tragedy

Gordon Lambie
Staff Writer

When Randy MacLean left the Eastern Townships School Board in the fall of 2013, it was to take a job as Deputy Director of Education at the Horizon School Division in Humboldt Saskatchewan, a position he still holds today. Since that time, the former principal of both Massey-Vanier and Alexander Galt high schools has also become the vice-president of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team. Speaking with The Record on Thursday afternoon, MacLean said that he has been through a broad spectrum of emotions since the crash last Friday evening that has left 16 staff and team members dead. “You don’t imagine something like this will happen,” the vice-president said. “Accidents happen, but this straight out of a Hollywood script, and not a good one.” MacLean said that he was at the gym when the first call came in to say that there had been an accident. As more information came to him through other calls, he traced a line from disbelief to despair to anger. “You try to wrap your mind around what happened,” he said. “On Friday we lost 15 members of our staff all in one swipe.” With only a name to go from, it can be hard to get a clear picture of what kind of a community Humboldt is. MacLean explained that the city has a population of just over 6,000, making it similar in size to Eastern Townships towns like Bromont or Windsor. “The Humboldt Broncos are a Junior Hockey team in a community of 6,000,” he said. “We have 20 plus players who live in people’s homes. Local people take these young adults in; we call them billet moms and billet dads. They are part of the fabric.” MacLean pointed out that some of the players on the team are still in school, which automatically extends the direct impact of the tragedy beyond the city itself and out into the surrounding area. See full story in the Friday, April 13th edition of The Record.