Communities across Canada, regardless of their involvement in the world of hockey, are providing a tremendous outpouring of support for those who died April 6 in the Humboldt Broncos’ bus crash, as well as their friends, families and teammates.
Salmon Arm and Sicamous are among them, constructing memorials and joining in on the nation-wide Jersey Day on April 12, an initiative started by a B.C. hockey mom to support the Broncos. The community is encouraged to gather at the north end of the Shaw Centre at 6 p.m. April 12, wearing sports jerseys and green-and-gold regalia while coming together to offer what support they can. A group photo will be taken, framed and sent to the Humboldt Broncos.
Wade Stewart, who is organizing Salmon Arm’s Jersey Day, says this accident hit him close to home. After many years spent as a hockey dad himself, he feels a personal connection, knowing it could just as easily have been his son’s team travelling to their next game on another snowy road somewhere in Canada.
“I mean it’s simple really, my boy has played hockey forever. Him and his best friends, who I consider like sons, they’ve all spent thousands of miles on a team bus, and I have as a coach,” he says. “The hockey community is a wonderful one, it’s a pretty tight knit community. What’s to say that my son and his friends didn’t play on the same ice as these guys at some point?”
Stewart hopes that, if nothing else, the outpouring of support to the Broncos and their families in Humboldt can offer the solace of knowing they are not alone, that people across the country are united in helping the community grieve.
“It’s not going to bring back the deceased or heal the wounded, but I guess as much as sometimes a hug shows support, I thought Salmon Arm is a pretty good hockey community and if this is something we can do amongst thousands of other communities doing the same thing it makes those people feel a little bit of comfort in a really tough time,” Stewart says. “It feels pretty dark and alone in a time like this. We’ve all faced tragedies in the past to various degrees, to just know you’re not alone I think really helps out sometimes in the healing.”
Those interested in attending the event and joining in the group photo for the Broncos’ should arrive at the Shaw Centre, north end of the building underneath the balcony, just before 6 p.m.. More information can be found on the Salmon Arm Jersey Day Facebook event page.
A separate Jersey Day event will be held in Sicamous at the Sicamous Arena. Participants should arrive at 5:15 p.m. and the group photo will be taken at 5:30 p.m.. A Facebook page has also been created with more information.
The schools of District 83 are also taking part in Jersey Day, with all students being encouraged to wear jerseys or green-and-gold clothing in support of Humboldt.
In addition to Jersey Day, memorial displays in honour of the Humboldt Broncos crash victims have been constructed at the Centenoka Park Mall, the Shaw Centre, and a small roadside memorial has been placed near the intersection of 10 Avenue SW and 17 Street SW.