Humboldt seeks government help to fund $35 million Broncos tribute center

The town of Humboldt is taking another step forward with its proposed Broncos Tribute Center.

On May 5, Humboldt City Council approved the submission of an application to the provincial and federal initiative known as the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP).

Humboldt City Manager Joe Day said CIPI funding could cover up to 73%, or about $25 million, of the $35 million project.

“We see the remaining approximately $10 million coming from some contributions from the city itself, partners we work with to invest in the complex, as well as a lot of interest from charitable donors and opportunities philanthropy,” Day said.

Day added that national corporations, such as grocery and fast-food chains, have also reached out to support the project.

The city’s vision for the 100,000 square foot center includes a multipurpose ice and event arena, community-use spaces, and fitness and therapy rooms.

It will also highlight a tribute gallery to the 2017-18 Humboldt Broncos hockey team and those who helped following the tragic bus crash on April 6, 2018. Sixteen people died and 13 were injured when the Broncos team bus collided with a tractor-trailer that failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of highways 35 and 335.

“We really want to provide a place where the public can come and visit and see that we appreciate everything that’s been done for us,” Day said.

“There are so many stories to tell about the inspirations that came out in the days and weeks following this event.”

Humboldt City Manager Joe Day shows concept images of a $35 million Broncos tribute center project on May 12, 2022. (Radio Canada)

A permanent roadside memorial near the crash site is included in the $35 million tribute project.

“The proposed Tribute Center and Roadside Memorial would also be places of spiritual, emotional and mental healing,” said Carol Brons, whose daughter Dayna died from injuries sustained in the crash.

Dayna, 25, was the Broncos’ athletic therapist and is remembered for her loving personality, tenacity and sense of humor.

“Our hope is that the values ​​that guided the 2017-18 Broncos will continue to inspire our kids to be better teammates and future leaders,” Brons said.

A decision on the request for ICIP funding is expected in the coming months.

Serving the next generation

On a practical level, the Tribute Center will provide much-needed support to local hockey programs.

“We’re finding that some of our local teams have to go out of the community for up to 20% of their home representation,” Day said.

“So there is definitely a need in our community for a second ice surface to meet that need for ice time.”

Day noted that with Humboldt’s location in central Saskatchewan, surrounding communities, rural municipalities and First Nations will also benefit from the center’s practical purpose.

“We see a lot of local youth and adults taking advantage of the recreational and cultural services that we are able to provide, and we really appreciate that,” Day told CBC News.

He added that it’s possible the center could be used to host events such as the Saskatchewan Summer and Winter Games, as well as conventions.

In a press release last week, the city said it would contact existing users and potential new users to learn more about their needs and aspirations for the new facility.

It will also continue to refine the concept plan, discuss operating and funding agreements with partners, and formalize funding pledges.