Slave Lake in general and the Lukan family in particular were dealt a blow on the weekend with the news of a tragic crash on a Saskatchewan highway on Friday night. Several members of the Humboldt Broncos Junior team, on their way to a playoff game, including Conner Lukan of Slave Lake, died when the bus they were in collided with a truck.
Lukan was in his last year of Junior hockey, having been traded to the Broncos after three seasons with the Spruce Grove Saints. The son of Lorne and Robin Lukan, he was born and raised in Slave Lake, playing minor hockey there up to Bantam age, when he moved to the city to play at a higher level.
In an Edmonton Journal article last week, former Saints’ coach Jason McKee called Lukan a “ferocious competitor” and “a tremendous teammate.”
It was not the first such tragedy to strike the family. Conner’s uncle Jamie Lukan was killed in a road accident on his way to a Wolves’ game back in the mid-1990s.
“That’s why he wore number 12,” said fellow Slave Laker TJ Foster in an interview with Global TV on Saturday.
The Jamie Lukan Memorial Scholarship is presented to a graduating high school student in Slave Lake each year in Jamie Lukan’s memory.
Conner was having his best season as a Junior hockey player with the Broncos, before he and so many other young men lost their lives last week. Peace River native Darcy Haugan, the head coach of the Broncos, was one of them. He coached the Peace River Navigators in the NWJHL, visiting Slave Lake many times.
News gets around fast these days, and within hours of the bus crash happening, messages of condolence started appearing on social media. One was from Slave Lake Mayor Tyler Warman.
“A thought that will pass through our minds is how easily it could have been one of our trips,” he said. “That could have been my son….that could have been me. Such a tragic loss.
“It will be a tough day for Canada.”