In case you have somehow missed the awful events of Friday evening, prepare to be shocked. The Humboldt Broncos of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) were involved in a serious bus accident on Highway 35 just outside of Nipawin, SK, resulting in the death of 15 individuals, while leaving another 14 injured.
The NHL and the entire hockey world has come together over the past day and a half in a truly remarkable show of sympathy, compassion and solidarity for the individuals lost and the lives affected by this awful tragedy.
Before last night’s game between the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks, the two teams joined at center ice for a moment of silence with BRONCOS on their nameplates. It was truly an incredible moment.
Check it out:
Well today, less than 24 hours after their teams played their final regular season games, Calgary Flames head coach Glen Gulutzan and Edmonton Oilers head coach Todd McLellan arrived in Humboldt, the home of the Bronocs, to offer gifts, support and sympathy for the surviving players and for the families who lost their loved ones.
Remarkable. Who says that hockey coaches are all just jaded and crusty old men? No one expects anything more than a few token words from Gulutzan and McLellan on the tragedy, but instead they take it upon themselves to actually make a difference. Prayers are good. Action is even better. And let’s be clear, this isn’t a public relations stunt by the Flames and Oilers franchises, this is an unpublicized outreach on behalf of the two men themselves. While they unofficially represent their teams, they’re there to make a difference simply as two men who care. Again, remarkable and truly inspiring.
For both the Flames and Oilers, this tragedy hits particularly close to home. The small town of Humboldt, Saskatchewan is not unlike hundreds of other small towns across the province of Alberta. Humboldt, about 130 kilometres outside of Saskatoon, is a place where its nearly 6000 residents live humble and virtuous lives. These are good, hardworking prairie folk who love themselves a good hockey game. The truth is though that these boys and this team could have been from any number of towns across Canada or the United States. Almost every day, in any part of the country, you'll find a bus full of energetic young men and women headed to the rink to play the game they love. For the Broncos... they never arrived. Rest in peace boys. Gone, but NEVER forgotten.