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Humboldt bus crash anniversary impacts Silver Knights defenseman

Updated April 10, 2021 - 2:13 pm

Brayden Pachal writes the initials “AH” on his stick tape before every game.

They are in memory of Adam Herold, a defenseman from Montmartre, Saskatchewan, who was Pachal’s teammate for a time with Prince Albert in the Western Hockey League and was one of 16 killed in the bus crash three years ago involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team.

The tribute always carries more significance for the Silver Knights defenseman during this time of the year. The third anniversary of the crash was Tuesday, and plans for a tribute center and roadside memorial were announced to honor the 16 victims.

“It’s something that you’ll remember every year on April 6 and something that I think about quite often,” Pachal said.

Herold, Paschal said, was “someone that I remember because he’s an amazing hockey player and could easily be in my shoes. It’s a guy I wish was still here with us and a guy that I play for.”

Pachal grew up in Estevan, Saskatchewan, and played with or against several of the players from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League club. He was officiating a senior league hockey game with his father when news of the crash spread.

Herold, 16, had been called up to Prince Albert for the playoffs in 2018. When the Raiders were eliminated, he returned to Humboldt to continue playing.

Prince Albert won the WHL title the following season and dedicated the victory to Herold, who was expected to be a member of that team.

Silver Knights defenseman Zack Hayes was an alternate captain for Prince Albert in 2018-19 and also honors Herold before each game.

“Knowing some of the guys personally, knowing their families and getting to know them more over the last couple years after the accident, it’s tough,” Pachal said. “I couldn’t imagine being in their shoes, and the organizations they’ve put together after the crash is something that’s pretty amazing.”

Pachal missed more than a month following surgery for an undisclosed injury and returned March 31. He appeared in all six games of the recently completed road trip.

“I’ve never been injured before. I guess it was bound to happen sometime playing hockey,” Pachal said. “It’s good to be back. Obviously we’re a good team this year, so I just do anything I can to help the team win.”

Duke returns

Forward Reid Duke rejoined the Silver Knights after missing almost two months with a lower-body injury.

In his first game back Tuesday, Duke scored the tying goal with 2:05 remaining in the third period. The Silver Knights went on to a shootout victory at San Jose.

Duke had at least one point in his first four appearances this season before he was held off the scoresheet in Friday’s loss at Bakersfield.

Dugan climbs charts

Forward Jack Dugan had his first two-goal game Friday and leads the team with 22 points (five goals, 17 assists) in 23 games. He is second in rookie scoring, two points behind Texas forward Riley Damiani.

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.