The head coach of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorns women’s rugby team says he’s making it a habit to wear his seatbelt on the team’s bus.
Other coaches and at least half of the players on his team at the southern Alberta school are also buckling up.
“We haven’t made it policy so we haven’t forced anybody,” said Neil Langevin, who took his second-ever selfie and posted it on Twitter to set an example. “We’re just raising awareness and making it a challenge on our team.”
Langevin said his decision was clear after speaking to his friend and the team’s manager Toby Boulet, who has made a point of wearing his seatbelt on the bus this season.
Boulet’s son, Logan, was one of 16 people who died after a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team collided with a semi-truck in rural Saskatchewan. Thirteen others were injured.
“It really hit home,” said Langevin, who was Logan’s godfather.
The parents of two other players who died have also called for mandatory seatbelt use on buses since the crash in April.
A lawsuit filed by the parents of Adam Herold in July asked for a court order requiring all buses carrying sports teams in Saskatchewan to be equipped with seatbelts.
Earlier this month, the mom of Stephen Wack wrote an opinion piece that ran in newspapers across the country asking for shoulder harness belts on all coach buses, along with the need for legislation making it compulsory to wear those seatbelts.
“If the wearing of shoulder belts on coach buses can be implemented successfully in the UK and some other European countries, then I believe that we, as Canadians, are capable of accomplishing the same,” Tricia Wack said in an email.
“With the Humboldt Broncos bus crash bringing this issue to the forefront, many Canadians are acknowledging the need for bus belts. Now is the time to make it happen.”
She concluded her opinion piece by asking people to buckle up for the Broncos and the hashtag .buckleupforthebroncos was born.
Officials with Hockey Canada, the national governing body for most ice hockey teams in the country, said they haven’t brought in any changes for this season.
“At this time, Hockey Canada’s membership has not put forward any recommendations or new regulations as a result of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy on April 6,” said spokeswoman Lisa Dornan in an emailed statement.
“We continue to monitor the information about the accident as it becomes publicly available in order to ensure we review any and all learnings that come from the incident.”
New buses required to have seatbelts by 2020
Transport Canada announced in June that the department will require all newly built highway buses to have seatbelts by September 2020.
Charter companies have said a lot of the newer buses already have seatbelts, but it’s tough for drivers to make sure people wear them for the duration of the trip.
Seatbelt use falls under the jurisdiction of the provincial and territorial governments, and is enforced by police in each area.
Many provinces and territories — including Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia — require motorists and passengers to wear seatbelts when they are provided.
Langevin said the legislation and policies help, but he said people can also make a choice to buckle up when they get on the team bus.
“We thought we’d tackle it in terms of habits,” he said.
Langevin said he doesn’t believe it will change the culture of being on the bus as a sports team.
“This won’t diminish the great times on the bus, but it will definitely make sure the bad times aren’t as bad.”
With files from Lauren Krugel.
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.