Annett to Carry Decal Honoring Humboldt Hockey Team

Ron Lemasters | 4/12/2018

Bristol Michael Annett News Pilot Flying J

JRM driver Michael Annett will carry a special decal this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway to honor the Humboldt Broncos Junior Hockey Team.

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (April 12, 2018) – Before Michael Annett turned his attention to driving NASCAR stock cars, he was focused on becoming the best ice hockey player he could be. That is why the tragedy involving a Canadian junior hockey team that occurred a week ago Friday struck so close to home for the 31-year-old JR Motorsports driver.

Not so long ago, Annett was doing the same kind of thing in his pursuit of a career as a professional hockey player.

On that Friday afternoon, the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team, based in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, was on its way to a playoff game in Nipawin. The team bus, carrying 29 people, was headed north on Highway 35. At the same time, a tractor-trailer carrying peat moss was headed west on Highway 335. The two vehicles collided at the intersection, destroying both.

Ten players, ranging in age from 16 to 21 years, died in the crash, and five more team members including the head coach, an assistant coach, the team’s play-by-play announcer and statistician and the bus driver, also died in the crash. On Wednesday, the team's trainer died from her injuries, according to media reports.

“I remember riding buses when I played hockey,” a shaken Annett said. “It was part of the game, traveling together to away games. In NASCAR, we use planes and motorhomes, but none of us as players had the ability to do that. You went as a team.

“This is a terrible tragedy, and my heart goes out to the families and fans of the Humboldt Broncos,” he continued. “To honor them, my No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet will carry a team decal this weekend at Bristol.”

The decal will be placed above the B pillar near Annett’s nameplate.

Annett’s first love was ice hockey, having been captured by the sport as a pre-teen, and he advanced quickly through the developmental ranks. By the time he was 16 years old, Annett was playing for Team Illinois, a Triple-A hockey team. In 2004, the Hawkeye native joined the Waterloo (Iowa) Black Hawks, a United States Hockey League (USHL) team, where he earned USHL Most Improved Player that year.

The following year, however, he made a full-time transition into the racing world and traded his skates for a fire suit. Still, having lived the puck life, the tragedy in Saskatchewan hit him hard. “At one point in my life, that was me, riding a bus with my teammates. Those are good memories of my time as a hockey player, and it makes it that much harder to have something like this happen.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • July 28 05:00 PM ET
    U.S. Cellular 250Iowa Speedway
  • August 4 03:30 PM ET
    Zippo 200Watkins Glen International
  • August 11 03:00 PM ET
    Mid-Ohio ChallengeMid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • August 17 07:30 PM ET
    Food City 300Bristol Motor Speedway
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    Road America 180Road America

XFINITY Series Standings

After Lakes Region 200

New Hampshire Motor Speedway | 7/21/2018
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Daniel Hemric6500
2Christopher Bell #644-6
3Elliott Sadler643-7
4Cole Custer637-13
5Justin Allgaier602-48
6Tyler Reddick #553-97
7Brandon Jones543-107
14Michael Annett343-307