The hockey community stood in solidarity on April 7 as it mourned the loss of 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team who lost their lives in a horrific bus crash in northern Saskatchewan the night before.
NHL players on the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks sported the word Broncos on their jerseys instead of their last names and moments of silence were held before puck drop at games across the country. Countless tributes have poured in honouring the victims.
As someone who grew up playing organized sports, I can really relate to the pain those affected are feeling. Anyone who has played any sport can remember spending countless hours on road trips with their team when travelling to tournaments, and this type of tragedy is something that could befall any of us.
When you look at this terrible accident, it is quite touching to see the support that has been shown the Broncos, their families and those affected.
Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock, who grew up in Saskatoon, told reporters on April 7, “You can’t make up for loss. It’s got to rip the heart out of your chest. We pray for those families and we’re thinking about them.”
Several hotel chains in the area and even the general public offered to house family members of the team.
Canada Hotels tweeted, “If you know of a family member that’s affected and needs to stay close by the hospitals – our hotels are available and we will take care of them. (No charge for tonight). Our #CanaltaCares team is ready in Melfort, Humboldt and Martensville (Saskatoon). #Humboldt #HumboldtStrong.”
Social media support has been incredible. A GoFundMe page was set up to raise money for the affected families’ travel and funeral costs and within 24 hours of launch, it had received over $1 million. As of Spoke’s press deadline, it had grown to more than $8 million.
The GoFundMe page for the Broncos has raised the most in Canadian history and is in the Top 5 globally.
“This one really struck a chord in Canada and around the world,” GoFundMe CEO Rob Solomon told CTV News Channel on April 10.
The NHL and other hockey associations that paid tribute to the victims deserve a massive amount of respect for their response in addressing this catastrophe. They could have just as easily done nothing and continued operations as normal but they didn’t.
This tragedy just goes to show that hockey isn’t just a sport we watch on TV, it is a community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for the game and when something of this nature happens, everyone is affected.
Just like the whole hockey community, we at Conestoga College stand with you Humboldt.