Humboldt Broncos player excited to skate again after 2 months in hospital

Humboldt Broncos player Xavier Labelle says he looks forward to graduating from high school and one day lacing up his skates again after he was released from hospital.

Labelle, an 18-year-old from Saskatoon, fractured his skull, broke about 20 bones and suffered nerve damage in the deadly bus crash that took the lives of 16 – including 10 players — and injured 13 others.

He was treated in the Saskatoon City Hospital for two months. On Wednesday, he finally went home.

Labelle said his recovery is still in its early stages, but he’s made progress from not being able to sit up or brush his teeth on his own.

“It was awful, but today I am able to walk and look forward to eventually running and skating,” Labelle said in a statement. “I am healing, and I am feeling better every day.”

Labelle said he has no memory of the collision or the two weeks that followed. Learning of the crash that took the lives of his coaches and teammates was “shocking and heartbreaking.”

Labelle thanked those who helped him on the path to recovery, including the teachers who tutored him in hospital to ensure that he’d graduate later in June.

He also expressed gratitude toward the outpouring of support from across Canada and the world.

“Thank you for sharing this journey with my parents, brother, sister and I, and for the generosity and kindness you have directed towards all of the Humboldt Bronco families,” Labelle said.

Labelle ended his message by referencing the word printed on the team’s workout shirts at the beginning of last season before the fatal crash: “Believe.”

“We believed in each other. I believe people will never forget what happened to us. I believe we will get through this.”