Hockey grounds Canadians like no other sport in the world. We come together to celebrate the big wins—Olympic gold medals, national championships—and the small—a Timbit player’s first time on the ice, the first goal, the first trophy.
This week, it has grounded us in grief.
The Canadian hockey family is large, and millions of players have ridden millions of hours on team buses to get to their games and tournaments. The news that the entire junior A Humboldt Broncos team—on their way to a playoff game in another prairie town—was either killed or injured in a collision with a semi-truck sent shock waves across the country.
Canada may be 36-million strong, but by the time word of the crash hit the news, we were all Saskatchewan strong. The outpouring of love and support for the families—both biological and billet—has been incredible, but not surprising for Canadians.
Port Alberni minor hockey players showed their love and support for players they have never met by holding their own vigil on Sunday. The Alberni Valley Bulldogs’ Junior A team has planned a community vigil for this Thursday, April 12 at the AV Multiplex at 6:30 p.m. so any members of the community who wish to show their support may do so in a common setting.
A gofundme account set up to help the Broncos’ families has raised at least $5 million, and will likely have gone even higher by the time our print edition hits the streets on April 11. People from all walks of life, from those who don’t have children to National Hockey League teams have donated and shown their support for the 28 families that will be dealing with this tragedy long after the accident becomes a footnote in newscasts.
There is one other victim of this tragedy, and that is the driver of the truck involved in the crash. He was physically uninjured, but no matter what the RCMP determine to be the cause of the crash, that person’s life is also changed forever.
— Alberni Valley News