The response from Canadians, and indeed from people around the world, to the tragic April 6 bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team that claimed the lives of 16 and left 13 people injured, has been phenomenal.
From coast to coast, Canadians have been wearing hockey jerseys and placing hockey sticks outside homes, offices and arenas, doing whatever they can to demonstrate their sympathy and support for the victims and all those affected by the accident.
The tragedy has also inspired the largest GoFundMe campaign in Canadian history. Created by Humboldt resident Sylvie Kellington with the goal of covering parking costs for the families who were at the hospital following the crash, the fund, which was set to wrap up on April 18, had generated more than $12 million as of Tuesday. The funds will be transferred to a newly-created non-profit, the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund and an advisory committee is being set up to make recommendations on the allocation.
Locally, many wore jerseys and participated in the “Sticks Out” campaigns – and no doubt many more contributed financially or through other expressions of support. Mayor Neil Driscoll called for a moment of silent reflection at the April 10 township council meeting, and many such moments have been held in all manner of venues since the accident.
Humboldt’s loss was about more than hockey. While on a scale rarely seen, the tragedy was so easily imaginable by any family whose members have ever been part of a team, organization or school that booked a bus or packed into vans to head out for a shared experience. Such tragedies can impact any of us, anywhere, and so we understand.
At such times it’s easy to wonder what gestures could really help, so the words of Broncos president Kevin Garinger, in a April 16 statement, are worth sharing here, this far from Humboldt.
“If there is any light shining through this dark time, it has come in the form of love for one another,” he said. “Our families and our entire organization has been blessed to feel this love from people from around the globe.”