As many of you have probably heard, on April 6, 2018, a charter bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos Junior A hockey team was involved in a tragic collision with a semi-truck on a rural Saskatchewan highway. At the time I wrote this, the crash has claimed the lives of sixteen individuals, including several young men on the team aged 16-21, coaching staff, and team personnel. Twelve others were also injured in the collision, many of which are still in hospital, in varying condition. There are so many dimensions to this tragedy, and support has poured out for the aching community from across the world. Canada and the hockey community are reeling and struggling to come to terms with what happened. It’s been a week and I still cannot wrap my head around it, it’s at the forefront of my mind, as I am sure it is for many Canadians as well. I read a news article that we need to filter out the hockey aspect and just focus on the loss of lives. I disagree. This is just part of what has made this tragedy so relatable to so many people. So many of us, myself included, grew up in sports. Sports where travel and bus trips for road games and tournaments are just as much a part of the game as actually playing itself.
But given the industry we work in, and the nature of our client’s, I think it’s relatable on another level. Some of our clients and their families know all too well the loss involved in a motor vehicle collision--to be one of the ‘lucky’ ones to survive when others did not, to live, knowing the person next to you did not, to grieve the sudden loss of a loved one, gone before their time, or to live and cope with a loss in mental or physical ability. Many of our staff have been privileged to share these experiences with our clients. For that reason I think it also hits close to home; close to the residences in which we work.
A trend started on social media when TSN analyst Brian Munz posted a picture to his twitter account - a picture a friend sent him of a lone hockey stick outside the front door to his house with the caption “Leaving it out on the porch tonight. The boys might need it..... Wherever they are.” A simple gesture to honour the team – leaving your hockey stick by the door for the boys that have passed on to use in the afterlife. The stick, a symbol and staple of a Canadian way of life, now a statement that says we are with you. Others from around the world have since joined in, placing hockey sticks outside their front doors in solidarity. I have placed two sticks outside the Hamilton residence – a player stick and a goalie stick as one of the young men that passed was recently identified as the team’s goalie. If by chance they end up passing by 6 Kelso St in Hamilton, they are more than welcome to them. My thoughts and prayers are with those affected, as the grieving process continues and healing begins.