“The Willie O’Ree Community Hero Award recognizes an individual who – through the game of hockey – has positively impacted his or her community, culture or society.”
That is the description of the new honour that was handed out for the first time during the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20th. The inaugural recipient: Darcy Haugan, the Head Coach & General Manager of the Humboldt Broncos.
Darcy was one of 16 lives lost in the tragic bus accident on April 6th, 2018 while the Broncos’ were travelling to Nipawin for Game 5 of their semi-final playoff series against the Hawks.
But as Haugan’s wife, Christina, said while accepting the award on behalf of her husband: Darcy earned this award “Not because of what happened on April 6th, but because of what he did every day before April 6th.”
Christina was joined onstage by 10 of the 13 surviving members of the Humboldt Broncos: Graysen Cameron, Brayden Camrud, Kaleb Dahlgren, Bryce Fiske, Matthieu Gomercic, Xavier Labelle, Derek Patter, Tyler Smith, Ryan Straschnitzki, Jacob Wassermann. Unable to attend were Morgan Gobeil, Layne Matechuk and Nick Shumlanski.
Darcy Haugan (42) from Peace River, Alberta played his 20-year-old season of junior hockey with the Estevan Bruins in 1995-96. After five years, Haugan began his coaching career as an Assistant Coach for Nick Seregella with the Estevan Bruins for the remainder of the 2000/01 season. Haugan remained on as Assistant for the 01/02 season and was the Co-Interim Head Coach with Kelly Lovering in 02/03 before accepting the Head Coaching position in his hometown with the North Peace Navigators. Haugan coached for 12 seasons, winning 5 NWJHL league titles, before accepting the Head Coaching position with the Humboldt Broncos for the start of the 2015/16 season.
Darcy Haugan Created His ‘Core Covenant’ For All Humboldt Broncos Players To Follow.