Hi everyone! My name is Erykah Pool. I grew up in Swift Current, SK, but I go to school at the University of Regina in hopes to work in the health care field in the future.
Kaleb and I started dating when he was playing AAA midget hockey. He then played two seasons in Notre Dame before heading to Humboldt for his last year of junior hockey. I was excited to watch him in his last season with a new team. Humboldt is such a welcoming community and I always loved spending weekends up there with his billet family and teammates.
The weekend of April 6th was one of the many weekends I made the treck up to Humboldt to watch the boys play hockey. I arrived at Kaleb’s billet’s house about 45 minutes before he and his roommates had to leave for the EPA to load the bus, so I had some time to wish them luck and chat about how their week went. About an hour later, two girls and I made our way up to Nipawin to watch the game. As we were driving, I was getting text messages from Kaleb’s mom as his parents were in Nipawin already and they were seeing many emergency vehicles rushing to the highway we took to get from Humboldt to Nipawin. Earlier, Kaleb had texted me saying he was going to get ready for the game, so I wished him luck and told him that I would see him after the game. In the meantime, the other girls in the car were not hearing from their boys and the boys kind of abruptly stopped answering their messages. This is the point in the trip when us girls were wondering if something might have happened to their bus.
I recall thinking about the Swift Current Broncos bus crash that occurred when my parents were in high school, but the thought of that crash quickly left my mind as I thought there would be no way that could happen to our boys.
Sure enough, Kaleb’s billet mom called me and told me there had been a terrible accident that involved the boy’s bus. From then on I was in complete and utter shock. I remember trying to get ahold of my family.... My mom was just arriving back home from a girl’s trip she took with some friends to Phoenix and my Dad and brother were in California for a snowboard trip.
Eventually, our vehicle arrived on site. It was the most horrific thing I have ever seen in my life. Shortly after, a police officer approached our vehicle and told us that we had to leave the scene and try and follow the gravel roads to Nipawin.
Everyone in the vehicle was in such shock and it seemed like it took FOREVER to get to Nipawin. The girls I was with had heard about their boys and I still didn’t have any idea about Kaleb. The whole time I was praying to whatever God there was hoping and wishing that he was being taken care of and that we just didn’t know yet.
When we arrived in Nipawin, we were directed to a church where we were getting news of what the emergency crews were figuring out. I met Kaleb’s parents there and from then on, I was with them. We found out Kaleb was being treated at the Nipawin hospital, but we didn’t know what condition he was in. So we left the church and headed to the hospital to see him. We were at the Nipawin hospital for roughly three hours and then headed to Saskatoon as he was getting flown in the Alberta Air Ambulance. We arrived in Saskatoon and after Kaleb had some scans done, we were able to sit with him until he was moved to a hospital room.
Days felt like hours and weeks felt like days yet in the same breath it felt like time was going so slow. Automatic pilot kicked in and I was at the hospital for over 12 hours a day and attended all the therapy appointments as I felt that was where I was supposed to be. I did not want to be anywhere but with Kaleb. I spent the month that he was in the hospital, by his side.
About a month after Kaleb was released from the hospital, our relationship ended. Even though we are not together anymore, I am so glad I was able to be there for and with Kaleb. I think of the accident and the aftermath every single day. My life kind of did a 180 after my new normal was set in place. The crash reiterated and put into perspective how precious life is and to cherish all the time you have with the people you love and care for. No matter where life takes me, I will continue to and always will be #humboldtstrong.