From backyard rinks to the NHL, hockey communities across the country are in mourning. Maritime players are no exception as some remember their time played in Humbodlt, Sask.

Nova Scotian players say they can relate after having spent countless hours riding buses just like the one that crashed north of Tisdale.

It was game day at the rink on Membertou First Nation Saturday. Excitement was mixed with sorrow after the Kameron Jr. Miners took home a win allowing them to clinch the Nova Scotia Junior B hockey title.

Among the arena’s stands was the owner of a bus company that shuttles young hockey teams throughout the Maritimes during the coldest, slipperiest months.

Craig Carabin says the company moves around eight teams all winter.

“With icy roads and everything, you don’t imagine it and you hope it never happens, but when it does, it hits home… makes everybody start thinking.”

John Hanna played in the Saskatchewan Junior league against Humboldt in the early 1980's. He says he has vivid memories of traveling the prairie highways.  Hanna describes the buses as a second home for junior players.

"The hurt goes right through you as I’m sure it did everyone in the hockey community,” says Hanna. “Knowing I was on a bus at fifteen years old in Saskatchewan myself, travelling those roads. You just.... can't imagine the heartbreak of the families."

James Sanford was an all-star defenseman with the Moncton Wildcats who spent many hours on the bus in his junior and pro hockey career.

"I spent a good chunk of my career, my life, on the bus through some crazy blizzards and different things and you don't really think about it too much until something like this happens,” says Sanford.

Darren Cossar, the head of Hockey Nova Scotia, is reminding parents who might be worried, that while a tragedy like this is unspeakable it's also rare.

"We have a great sport and all the travel and the risks... the benefits of it outweigh those small risks that are there,” Cossar says.

"This is supposed to be as safe as it gets and it just goes to show you, you got to embrace each and every day and each and every day you're with your, with your family you better enjoy it, so let's talk about hockey,” says parent Mike Babcock.

Cossar is encouraging the sports community to offer all of the support they can.

“It’s great that we have a community of hockey that care for each other and we can come together in these times to support.”

With files from CTV Atlantic’s Ryan MacDonald