Outside of the courthouse in Melfort, Saskatchewan, on Tuesday, Mark Brayford, a lawyer, said that when he recently took over Mr. Sidhu’s defense, the driver said that he had wanted to plead guilty.
“I can’t make things any better but I certainly don’t want to make them worse by having a trial,” Mr. Brayford quoted his client as saying. “He wanted the families to know that he’s devastated by the grief that he’s caused them.”
The Broncos had been on a two-hour trip north to a playoff game in the town of Nipawin. The players came from throughout Canada and stayed with Humboldt’s families.
Long bus trips to games had been a regular part of life for the players, who ranged in age from 16 to 21. For many, the Broncos could have been a way to a college athletic scholarship or a pathway to a professional team.
One player still remains hospitalized in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
Canadians have left hockey sticks outside their doorways in memory of the dead, who also included team officials. A fund-raising campaign for survivors and victims’ families raised more than $11 million.
Mr. Sidhu pleaded guilty to 16 counts of dangerous driving causing death and 13 counts of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. The maximum penalty for the death-related charge is 14 years and 10 years for the injury charges.
A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Jan. 28.
“If he spends a day, if he spends 10 years times, that’s irrelevant,” Scott Thomas, the father of Evan Thomas, 18, who was killed in the crash, told reporters outside of the courthouse. “He was guilty, he acknowledged that. That’s all I needed to hear.”