LAS VEGAS -- Christina Haugan said she has been surprised at the deluge of letters, well-wishes and emails that have poured into the offices of the Humboldt Broncos from across the hockey world since the bus crash April 6 that killed 16 members of the team.
'It's still going strong," she said.
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Among those killed was her husband, Darcy Haugan, Humboldt's coach and general manager.
The Vegas Golden Knights were one of the organizations that stepped up, and hosted Christina and her sons, Carson, 12, and Jackson, 9, at Game 3 of the Western Conference Final against the Winnipeg Jets at T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday. The family was honored during the game and got to meet some of the Golden Knights players following Vegas' 4-2 victory.
"[The Golden Knights] are a first-class organization, for sure," Christina said. "We had no idea what was going to happen. Every detail has been covered and the boys just feel so happy."
Jackson said he was most excited to meet his favorite player, Golden Knights goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury, in his pads after making 33 saves, talked hockey with Jackson and Carson for nearly 10 minutes by his locker stall. The two boys play hockey; Carson is a center and right wing, and Jackson is a center.
After they finished chatting, Fleury signed their jerseys and took a photo with them.
"[Fleury's] playing pretty good this season," Jackson said, adding he thinks Fleury will be the reason Vegas will the Stanley Cup in its inaugural season.
The family had been to a couple of Edmonton Oilers games prior to Wednesday, but their first experience in Las Vegas was unlike anything they had seen before.
Carson said he enjoyed the pregame festivities, most notably the Golden Knight mascot and his short sword duel with the dark-hooded figure waving a Winnipeg Jets flag.
"They don't show half this stuff on TV," Carson said. "It was awesome."
The Haugans are flying home Friday, so they won't be able to attend Game 4 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN1, TVAS). But if the Golden Knights lose Friday, Christina jokingly said the team could bring them back as a good-luck charm for Game 6 on Tuesday.
"It's been phenomenal," she said. "They say hockey is a family, but to experience it first-hand has been pretty amazing. Everybody seems to have a connection to Humboldt, which has been neat to see."
Photo courtesy of Vegas Golden Knights
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