In April, former Flin Flon Bomber Nick Shumlanski was caught in the middle of the worst tragedy in Canadian sports history. This fall, he’ll have a chance to continue his hockey career.
Shumlanski signed a scholarship offer from the U Sports University of Prince Edward Island Panthers on July 21. During his time with the Bombers last season, “Shummer” scored 39 points in 35 games and led the team in scoring before being traded to Humboldt at the trade deadline.
After the trade, Shumlanski kept up his pace, adding 25 points and 10 goals for the Broncos in 20 regular season games. During the club’s nine playoff games, Shumlanski tied teammate Logan Schatz for the team’s points lead.
On April 6, about a kilometre away from his family’s farm near Armley, the Broncos’ team bus collided with a semi at a highway junction. By the time the dust settled, 16 people were killed, all of whom were Shumlanski’s teammates or associates. Shumlanski suffered an injured shoulder and a damaged vertebra in his back and was one of the first players released from hospital following the accident.
“It’s something that changes you forever,” said Shumlanski in an interview with The Guardian.
“It was one of the closest teams that I’ve ever played on. I hear a lot of the guys say that you have to kind of carry on their destiny and I feel like that’s something that I am doing as well. I still want to play hockey and do it for the boys as well.”
His new coach, Forbes MacPherson, said Shumlanski will bring vital skill and temperament for the team.
“All of the characteristics of (Nick’s) game, fit the mould we’re looking for,” he said to The Guardian.
“I feel like Nick can help us as a hockey player and perhaps we can help him move on to the next chapter of his life.”
Since the accident, Shumlanski has been back on the ice, playing weekly rec hockey games and training as many as five days a week to get back into game shape.
Shumlanski is the latest Humboldt survivor to join the Canadian university hockey ranks. Teammates Bryce Fiske and Matthieu Gomercic both have committed to play for the Univ. of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Ridgebacks next season, while Kaleb Dahlgren – who sat next to Shumlanski on the bus that day – will join the York Lions.