Humboldt Bronco Kaleb Dahlgren coming to speak in Listowel

Photo of the Humboldt Broncos hockey team from Twitter @HumboldtBroncos

Kaleb Dahlgren, one of the survivors of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy, is coming to Listowel to share his story.

He says following the tragic crash on April 6th, 2018, that claimed 16 of the 29 lives onboard, he decided in the hospital to do his best to see the positives in his life.

“There’s 7 or 8 billion people in the world, and the fact that I knew those 16, and the 29 on the bus, pretty special. So that was another big one, was the gratitude piece, and then rolls-reversed, like, how would I want them to live if it was me who died? And then focusing on the things I can control. I couldn’t control the crash, my injuries, what other people were thinking or other circumstances that came into my life.”

Dahlgren wrote about his story in his book “Crossroads: My Story of Tragedy and Resilience as a Humboldt Bronco.” The book received critical acclaim, and one conversation with Dahlgren shows why. He is a living portrait of resilience, with an attitude that’s beyond confident and positive at the same time. He speaks with an innate humbleness that pulls you in, and makes you want to be a better person, too. Dahlgren says the stay in the hospital was an eye opening experience, and he began to take stock of the things in his life he could control, chief among them his perception of his life and who he is.

“All I could really control was myself, so that’s what I worked on, was my perception, my actions, my values, my beliefs, and how I wanted to move forward. So for me, it was kind of a full circle there, but being thrown into the spotlight, and now having lots of people come up to you, is not easy, per se. It was something I had to learn how to navigate. But coming out on this end, I feel like I’m fully healed, mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and I couldn’t be more thankful to be in the position I am today.”

It’s statements like that that almost boggle the mind of someone who hasn’t been through the kind of violent trauma and physical injury that Dahlgren has. But it’s very evident that Dahlgren has a truly empathetic heart and mindset, no matter how bad his circumstances would strike others from around the world. In the weeks following the crash, donations and shows of support for the Broncos poured into Humboldt, with the popular #SticksOutForHumboldt hashtag going viral across social media.

As Dahlgren began to heal physically, he began considering how long it might be before he could play hockey again. Some of his surviving team mates, and even staff with the team, couldn’t quite come back to the game following the tragedy, a pain still too real for them when they tried to go back to the rink and the 16 who were lost weren’t there. But Kaleb, ever an optimist and a young man totally committed to achieving his goals, decided he wanted to try and come back.

“It wasn’t really that difficult of a decision for me, to be honest, because, I wanted to get back out there, and that was my passion, my livelihood and something that I truly loved and ate, breathed and slept. And so, for me to get back on the ice was one of my biggest goals, and I was able to do that on June 1st, 2018, so a couple months after the crash.”

Dahlgren signed on to play for the York University men’s team, but never played competitively after consulting his doctor and deciding it wasn’t worth potentially making the brain injury he suffered in the crash worse. He says he does want to someday maybe get back into the game, as he works to complete his schooling to become a chiropractor. Potentially someday, he says, maybe he will seek to be an athletic therapist for an NHL team. And who would doubt him at this point? To read his story, and understand the immense obstacles he’s gotten through to survive, move on, go to school and become a best-selling author, I doubt anyone would bet against Dahlgren someday helping the best players in the world be better physically, but also help everyone he meets be better people.

Or, at least, he’ll make them want to be.

Kaleb Dahlgren is coming to the Listowel Fairgrounds on Wednesday, August 24th at 7 p.m. He will host a meet-and-greet afterwards, where people can get a signed copy of his book. Tickets can be purchased here: https://frontdoor.plus/store/?e=88&fbclid=IwAR0NjI6HDfJh9VGjfGifb2lVwKS-671VJPI3iytaDjKUy1jlLTwOSG_4M8w

His website is https://www.kalebdahlgren.com/.

For a full interview with Kaleb Dahlgren, courtesy of the Instigating w/Clarkey and Drury show, click below: