Statue honours special man

Darcy Haugan’s parents, Leroy and Shirley, pull back the cover and reveal the statue in his memory at the Baytex Energy Centre in Peace River. Not shown are Darcy’s widow, Christina, and sons Carson and Jackson.

Susan Thompson
South Peace News

A statue honouring late hockey coach Darcy Haugan has been unveiled in his hometown of Peace River.

In 2018, Haugan was one of 16 people who died after the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team’s bus collided with a semi on the road to Nipawin for a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game. Another 13 people were injured in the tragedy, which has been mourned by the entire nation.

Haugan coached the Jr. B North Peace Navigators [Peace River] in the Northwest Junior Hockey League for 12 seasons and was instrumental in developing the team.

“I dreamed of a team that would develop young players who would be ambassadors for their community and for the young players following them, and that that example would become a very strong and dominant force in the hockey world,” says Albert Cooper, team founder.

“Darcy helped us develop a vision for our team.”

Haugan lead the Navs to five North West Junior Hockey League championships between 2003-15.

Cooper has worked tirelessly to ensure Haugan would be remembered through a permanent monument both to the man and to his vision.

Many local businesses and families in Peace River and elsewhere donated time and money to help make the statue a reality.

The completed bronze statue of Haugan unveiled on Oct. 11 at the Baytex Energy Centre is three-quarters life-size and weighs over 190 kg. It was cast by Don and Shirley Begg of Studio West in Cochrane, who in the past have created monuments to the RCMP officers who were killed in Mayerthorpe and hockey legend Wayne Gretzky.

“The Haugan family is completely honoured and humbled by this enormous gesture,” says Christina Haugan, Darcy’s widow.

“I can tell you without a doubt, Darcy would be in complete disbelief seeing this.”

She lists some key words from her late husband’s core covenant, what he saw as the most important things in both hockey and life.

“Family first, honesty, integrity, hope, belief, greatness, respect, thankful passion, gratitude, building foundations,” she says.

“While Darcy was not perfect, and he would be the first to tell you that, he did strive for these things in all he did.”

Besides Haugan’s family, Northern Sunrise Reeve Carolyn Kolebaba and Town of Peace River Councillor Orren Ford were in attendance at the unveiling, along with a necessarily small crowd due to COVID-19 safety restrictions.

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