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Humboldt Broncos president Kevin Garinger stepping down, saying ‘it’s the right time’

The man who became the public face of the Humboldt Broncos in the days after the Saskatchewan junior hockey team’s bus crashed in April has stepped down as president of the organization.

Kevin Garinger told a club board meeting on Tuesday he will not be seeking re-election to the top post.

Garinger said he wants to devote more time to his family, to his job as CEO and director of education with Saskatchewan’s Horizon School Division and to a doctorate he’s pursuing in educational leadership.

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“It’s been a decision that’s not been taken lightly. I feel it’s the right time for somebody else to be able to take over and continue to move this organization forward,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Now into the third year of a three-year term on the board, Garinger is to provide support and guidance for new president Jamie Brockman.

Garinger said he took on the presidency last year when no one else wanted the job.

Brockman, who served as president between 2012 and 2017, said in a news release Wednesday that he did not intend to take the job again, but he wants to ensure the team continues to be strong.

“I have a lot of confidence in our current board of directors because these people also want to help, so I feel I have a great support network and look forward to moving the team forward,” Brockman said.

He acknowledged the previous executive and the directors who have left since the crash.

“Their lives were also turned upside down and I am thankful for the work they did.”

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Garinger teared up when asked how much of an effect the April 6 fatal collision had on his decision to not seek re-election. He said no one ever expected anything like that to happen and he indicated he needs counselling to help him deal with the tragedy.

“In stepping back like this ... to make sure that I can look after myself before I look after others. That’s something I need to do for my family. I’m in that place where I’m wanting to pursue the supports that are necessary for myself.”

The Broncos board also named Maury Simoneau as vice-president, Curtis Wacker as treasurer and Lee Dufort as secretary.

Sixteen people were killed and 13 others were injured when the hockey team’s bus and a transport truck collided at a highway intersection northeast of Saskatoon.

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League club was on its way to a playoff game when the crash happened.

Two of the players who survived remain in hospital while a third player who was left paralyzed, Ryan Straschnitzki, is pursuing sledge hockey with an eye to making the national team and competing at the Winter Paralympic Games.

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Garinger said all the survivors are an inspiration.

“There are 13 young men who are with us. We are grateful for that. It’s an amazing feeling to know they’re continuing to progress and heal, in spite of very difficult circumstances.”

RCMP have said they will not release any details of the investigation into the crash or what they believe happened.

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, 29, of Calgary faces 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily injury.

He remains free on bail. His case is to be back in court Oct. 2 in Melfort, Sask.

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