Hearts out for Humboldt

Ryan Jones
By Ryan Jones April 20, 2018 13:57

Hockey sticks are being placed outside across Canada to offer sympathy for the Humboldt Broncos and their families. (Photo by Ryan Jones)

By Ryan Jones


An echo of sympathy continues to resonate in response to the recent tragedy from Humboldt, Sask. People not only in Windsor-Essex County, but all over Canada, are propping up hockey sticks outside their front doors.  


On Friday, April 6, the Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus collided with a transport truck. The bus carried a total of 29 people, 24 being players from western Canada ages 16 to 21. Sixteen people have died, including the team captain, head coach and their athletic therapist. The cause of the crash remains unknown.


In response to the accident, NHL teams who played games during the following weekend wore Humboldt Broncos stickers on their helmets and had a moment of silence during the game to honour the team. Canadians have also poured their hearts out for the Broncos through fundraising and placing hockey sticks outside their houses, Lori Richards being one of them.


She is an Amherstburg resident, librarian and mother of three children. With her youngest being 17 and her other two 22 and 24, her children are around the same age as many of the Humboldt Broncos players.


“It’s always heartbreaking when young people pass away, but I think this is a little more heartbreaking because it’s our national sport,” says Richards.


“Whether you play or not, or have somebody that plays or not, it’s almost a part of our Canadian identity to be into hockey. Those guys were useful and vibrant. As a parent it’s heartbreaking because it hits home because some parents somewhere lost their child.”


Even though her kids never played sports growing up, she found hockey sticks laying around her house and placed them outside to display support.


“It makes you feel that you’re doing a little something for a good cause,” says Richards.


As a retired nurse and hockey mom, the Humboldt Broncos tragedy hits home for Windsorite Marg Tucker as both her son, John Tucker, and grandson, Jack Tucker, are involved in Jr. hockey. Tucker recalls a lot of John’s games being tournaments in Michigan the team had to travel to.


“As parents on the team you kind of all amalgamate together because you spend so much time travelling and what not,” says Tucker. “We sort of become a family because you’re following those kids and you’re with the same kids all the time.”


Her voice wobbles as she explains her reaction to the crash.


“I can’t imagine what those parents are going through, and a lot of them were from that area, so the whole town was just hockey. That’s like my grandson in Moncton. There’s not an awful lot that goes on in Moncton so the whole town rallies around the hockey team.”


Tucker no longer has to worry about travelling and packing helmets and padding into hockey bags, but continues to support her family and the families of Humboldt from home.


In a matter of 12 days, about 142,000 people donated money for the Humboldt Broncos on gofundme. The target goal was $4 million, but the final amount more than tripled at $15,185,700.


No amount of money can take away the pain of death and trauma, but every ounce of support helps.


Even though the accident happened almost two weeks ago, people are still showing their sympathy.


Cambridge, Ont. hockey coach Steve Bonneville has started a sticker fundraiser. He is selling Humboldt Broncos stickers at $5 each to raise money for the hockey team. So far, he has sold more than 900 stickers.


In a Facebook post Bonneville said, “As a hockey parent and a hockey coach, what happened Friday (April 6) to the Humboldt hockey team and community left me with a really heavy heart, as I’m sure it did to all of you. I’ve been thinking of the best way to help and came up with this idea based on what I saw watching Hockey Night In Canada.”  


Richards says hockey is “a part of our Canadian identity.” It seems as though sympathy is too.

Ryan Jones
By Ryan Jones April 20, 2018 13:57

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