Twenty-year-old defenceman Kyle Sargent will trade his Yorkton Terriers jersey for the Humboldt Broncos' green and gold this season, as one of 10 players selected by the Broncos in an SJHL (Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League) dispersal draft.
The results of the special draft were made public on June 11, as 11 SJHL teams and the Broncos worked together to rebuild the Humboldt team after a tragic April bus accident in which 16 people were killed and 13 injured, many severely.
Few of the players who survived the crash will be able to join the team this season, either due to injuries or because they have reached the SJHL's age limit.
“The league gave Humboldt the chance to ice a team this year,” says Sargent. “I got a call from my coach in Yorkton early on June 10 - the day before the results were announced publicly.”
“As players, we had all heard a lot of rumours about a dispersal draft, so we knew it was a possibility,” he adds. “But none of us had any idea if we'd be going or not.”
“After my (Yorkton) coach called me and told me I'd be joining the Broncos, I got a call from the Broncos organization welcoming me to their team for the 2018-2019 season.”
'I was pretty shocked at first, but at the same time, I'm looking forward to being in Humboldt and seeing how this year plays out.”
Sargent is no stranger to moving - especially as far as his hockey career is concerned.The Carlyle native started skating as a three-year-old and at age “four or five” started playing hockey.
By age 13, he was playing Bantam AA for the Estevan Bruins. As a 15-year-old, he joined the Moose Jaw Generals, playing there for two years and then finishing his high school career as a Tisdale Trojan.
As an SJHL player, Sargent was granted “protected” status (drafted) when he was 15 by the Nipawin Hawks. Later, he was traded to the Kindersley Clippers and then joined the Yorkton Terriers.
“It's never easy going to a new team,” says Sargent. “You're a group of guys who hang out together for eight months and you get pretty close. In Yorkton, I've got a few really good buddies who play for the Terriers who are from Ontario.”
“But it's part of playing hockey,” he says. “And I have a good buddy who plays for Moose Jaw who was also picked up (to play for Humboldt).”
Sargent says the upcoming season for the Broncos is “a unique situation that nobody knows how to handle, going in.”
“Everyone's eyes will be on the team, wanting them to do well,” he says. “So there is pressure. And TSN is televising the Broncos' first home game on Sept. 12.”
“I played Brayden Camrud (of the Humboldt Broncos) when I was very young,” says Sargent. “He was injured in the crash and if he's able to, he'll be back on the ice playing with the Broncos this fall.”
“We're both 20, so we'll be the older guys on the team. We've talked about how we can help younger guys handle that pressure and the whole situation,” he says. “Everybody thinks: 'That could have been my team' when we think about what happened to Humboldt, and I know everyone wants to give their best and do their best this year.”
“I want to play in the Broncos' honour and carry on their legacy.”