Saint Ignatius varsity hockey team plays 1st game since 16 members of JV team injured in crash

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Friday, November 18, 2022
St. Ignatius varsity hockey team plays 1st game since JV crash
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Saint Ignatius's varsity hockey team played their first game since 16 members of the junior varsity team were injured in a crash in Warsaw, Indiana.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Saint Ignatius School's varsity hockey team played their first game since 16 members of their junior varsity team were injured in a crash over the weekend.

School officials said the game is the first step to normalcy in what will be a long road of healing.

"The team is leaning on each other to get through this," said Spencer Montgomery, director and head coach. "Everything we do from here on out will be to honor those guys and they are always front of mind."

READ MORE: Alcohol may be factor after semi runs red light, injures 16 in St. Ignatius hockey bus crash: police

The St. Ignatius team was joined by their opponents before the first puck was dropped in Morgan Park Thursday night.

"It's extremely important to return a sense of normalcy and get these guys back on the ice and playing," Montgomery said.

The crash happened Saturday night in Warsaw, Indiana, about 50 miles south of South Bend. The team was heading to a hotel after competing in a tournament earlier in the day. Police said the semi was seen swerving and speeding around 8 p.m.

RELATED: Semi driver charged in Indiana bus crash that injured 16 Saint Ignatius hockey players over weekend

Twenty three student athletes from boys' hockey team and two adult coaches were on board a bus when police said a speeding and swerving semi-truck slammed into them. Of the 16 injured, three were in critical condition.

Victor Santos, 58, the driver of the semi, has been charged with four felony counts of causing serious bodily injury while operating a vehicle, and 22 felony counts of criminal recklessness while armed with a deadly weapon, Warsaw police said.

Thursday's game was not just important to school officials, but team fans as well.

"I'm here to show support for these kids and you know like I said hockey people are a family," said Jerry McParlin. "It's terrible what happened but I think they're going to come out a lot stronger."

School officials said there has been an overwhelming outpouring of support surrounding the Saint Ignatius community and their junior varsity team.

"Some of them have a long road obviously with their injuries and physical therapy and whatever will come down the road but I think this and being part of a team and being part of a sport, when you get back to that? That's the best part about this," said Saint Ignatius Athletic Director Erik Eastman.

Montgomery said the school plans to honor members of junior varsity team at this Saturday's game.