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Montgomery on tragic bus accident: ‘It really was a miracle’

By Ross Forman, 11/15/22, 9:30AM CST


The Saint Ignatius College Prep JV Hockey Team will make a decision on Sunday, November 20, about its next game, AHAI has confirmed. The team’s Saturday night Chicago Catholic Hockey League (CCHL) game against Fenwick has been postponed.

The team – and the entire hockey community – is recovering from a horrific accident Saturday, November 12, when the team was returning to its hotel from dinner in Warsaw, Ind., after competing in a tournament at Culver Military Academy.

A semitruck ran a red light and plowed into their team bus. Sixteen students were hurt – and two remain in the hospital.

Felony DUI charges were pending against the truck driver who police say ran a red light and crashed into the bus, which had 23 students and two coaches.

“Being able to play hockey is such a privilege. Playing with your teammates, being a student-athlete, we know just how special that is,” Saint Ignatius hockey director and varsity head coach Spencer Montgomery told AHAI in an exclusive interview. “The bonds mean more than the wins and loses ever could.

“I think a sense of normalcy, which is returning to the ice for the kids who can, (is what is needed). We will grow stronger as a group from this.

“All of our thoughts now are with the two boys still in the hospital.”

Montgomery’s varsity team resumed practice on Tuesday morning before school.

“We think of (the hockey club) as a family and those in hockey understand. When you’re in hockey, you spend your vacations, your weekends, your nights, your mornings together as a group. Your teammates become your family,” Montgomery said. “The hockey community is mighty.”

Montgomery said the worldwide outpouring of thoughts and prayers for the Saint Ignatius Hockey Club has been heartwarming and absolutely appreciated.

“The Culver community has stepped up massively, with incredible support. (So have) the (Chicago) Blackhawks, the NHL, USA Hockey and AHAI. Across the board, we have felt the love, prayers and support – and it’s all really appreciated, helping lift us up in this time,” he said. “We’re hopeful that our boys will recover and everyone will be healthy enough to play hockey again.

 “With the severity of the accident, we have a lot to be thankful for; it really was a miracle.”

Montgomery, in his first season as the Saint Ignatius hockey director and varsity head coach, was getting ready to play in an adult league hockey game at Johnny’s Ice House when he received a call from the Saint Ignatius JV head coach, informing him what had happened.

Montgomery drove directly to the hospital.

“I was so proud of our parents, our kids, our coaches. Everyone was incredible. They were calm, communicated effectively and held each other when needed,” Montgomery said. “It’s a senseless and unimaginable nightmare situation, but it is an opportunity to look for the light, for the bravery and be thankful that our boys are still with us. Please keep the  two boys (still in the hospital) and the entire team in your thoughts and prayers.”