Former Nelson Leafs defenceman Zach Morey briefly played for the Humboldt Broncos and had been offered a spot on this season’s team. Photo submitted

‘Too terrible to be true’: B.C. player almost returned to the Humboldt Broncos

Zach Morey reflects on a pivotal choice he made

Last year, Zach Morey had a choice. He could play for the Humboldt Broncos or return to the Nelson Leafs.

He’s been thinking a lot lately about the decision he made.

Like many in Canada, the Leafs defenceman has been reeling following the April 6 crash between a semi truck and the Broncos’ team bus that killed 16 people and injured 13 more.

What separates Morey from everyone else, though, is that he could have been on that bus himself.

“It’s eerie. Thinking how both things would have gone different ways, if a couple choices wouldn’t have been so black and white or something happened, that could have been me. It’s kind of a weird, foreboding…,” and here Morey paused to find the words.

“It’s a lot.”

Morey played five exhibition games for the Broncos at the beginning of the 2015-16 campaign. The defenceman had been promised a roster spot, but a coaching change led to his being cut. He ended up playing for the Kimberley Dynamiters before a trade sent him to the Leafs later that season.

At the start of last year, the Broncos coaching staff returned to offer Morey a spot for his final year in junior hockey. He turned them down.

“I was just kind of done with Saskatchewan and I really liked Nelson. The opportunity in Nelson was better than the opportunity to go back and play in the SJHL.”

The Leafs made Morey an assistant captain, and he had a stellar season. There was no reason for him to think about the Broncos again, until last week’s tragedy.

“It took a while to kick in because it just seems too terrible to be true, if that makes any sense,” he said. “Thinking about yourself being in the crash too. It’s one of those things where I wouldn’t wish that upon my worst enemy, and to think that you could have been there just throws you off and makes you think about how lucky you are for making the choices you did.”

For their part, the Leafs have since donated $1,000 to the Broncos. As of publication, $8.5 million has been raised through a GoFundMe campaign for the players and families affected by the crash.

Part of what hit Morey hardest about the crash is how often he and other hockey players his age are on buses. He refers to the bus as a safe space.

“Everybody has their seat, that’s where they sit, everybody jokes around and talks and plays some pranks, has some fun,” said Morey. “It really is just for the boys and it becomes our space, even if it is just for the two hours or the trip to Castlegar or if we’re going five or six hours. That’s ours for as long as it is and we make it our own.”

Morey is too old to play junior hockey now. After the crash, he briefly thought how lucky he was to never have to ride a bus again.

But then he changed his mind.

“A lot of the friendships and a lot of the good times of my junior career all began on the bus,” he said.

Related:

B.C. sees spike in new organ donors after Humboldt tragedy

Trucking company suspended after Humboldt bus crash

‘Heroes to many:’ Support offered to Humboldt students after crash kills 15



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Vanderhoof flood risk evokes memories

It’s a love/hate relationship

Concerns about flooding cause angst

Estimates of flooding probabilty vary, depending on who you talk to

The next step for sturgeon is extinction

Work of recovery centre the last chance for magnificent creatures

B.C., Alberta clash as Kinder Morgan suspends Trans Mountain work

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley promises “serious economic consequences” for B.C.

Lt.-Gov. Guichon believes she made the right decision

Outgoing Lt.-Gov Judith Guichon said her most memorable moments weren’t surrounding the election

Time to let go for BC bears, otters, bobcat

Northern Lights Wildlife shelter near Smithers set to release orphaned animals this spring.

VIDEO: Smokers talk pot rules at annual 4-20 event

Annual pot protest-meets-festival in Vancouver attracted hundreds to vendors, concert

New funds, recruits set to alleviate B.C. sheriff shortage

The Government of British Columbia announced new sheriff graduates, funding for more classes

Video: RCMP investigation gets a deer little photobomb

Princeton RCMP were conducting a drug investigation in Princeton which a deer strolled through

Farnworth says five years too long for feds to deal with organized crime in medical pot

Needs to be dealt with much sooner than that, B.C. Public Safety Minister says

UPDATED: Unions, CP Rail come to agreement, avoiding work stoppage

Locomotive engineers, conductors and signals specialists seeking new collective agreements.

B.C. woman known to hitchhike around province missing

Aislynn Hanson, 18, last seen April 13; known to travel throughout B.C. by hitchhiking

B.C. court relies on Facebook to track down missing defendant

A court in Princeton, B.C. relied on Facebook to track down a B.C. missing his court date

Most Read