Jonathon Brodie – Recorder & Times
Separated by thousands of kilometres, united by hockey.
People from all over the country have sent condolences to the Humboldt Broncos since news of Friday’s tragedy of a tractor trailer striking the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) team’s bus, killing 15 people.
The CCHL put out a press release quoting commissioner Kevin Abrams as saying, “We in the CCHL send our deepest and most sincere condolences to everyone in Humboldt who are dealing with an unimaginable tragedy. To the Broncos and the SJHL, you are all in our thoughts and prayers.”
The online press release also shared a link to a crowdsourcing initiative that raised more than $5 million in less than 72 hours for the families of the victims of the accident.
The Brockville Braves plan on contributing to that fund and one dollar will go to it for every ticket sold to Tuesday’s Game 6 at the Memorial Centre. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.
“We’re all hurting and we’re all with them,” said Braves co-owner and general manager Dustin Traylen.
Both the SJHL and CCHL play under the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) banner.
As an example of how small the CJHL world is, Traylen said he talked to Humboldt’s coach and general manager Darcy Haugan on the league’s Jan. 10 trade deadline, examining potential deals and speaking about junior hockey in general. Haugan was among the 15 people who died in the accident.
While the Braves wore their redand-white away jerseys for Game 5 on Saturday, they also donned green-and-yellow stripes on the top of their helmets. The idea to sport the Broncos colours came from Brockville’s assistant equipment manager Jesse Valkenier, who messaged captain Andrew Jarvis to get his thoughts on buying green-and-yellow tape for the game.
The Braves also changed their colours on social media over the weekend, switching the logo to green and yellow as well.
“Pulling into the Jim Durrell tonight and seeing the @BrockBraves bus in the parking lot holds perspective and shines a light on the tide of emotion that has rippled across the hockey world. Still keeping #HumboldtBroncos in our thoughts tonight from the @CCHLTier1 to the @theSJHL,” wrote Kristen Jones on social media Saturday.
Like the rest of Canada, the Braves have been talking about the tragedy among themselves, said Jarvis.
The first time stepping on the bus after the crash felt different from what it usually feels like, admitted the Braves captain.
He had to stop looking at social media on his phone when making the drive to Ottawa on Saturday with the bulk of the conversation being about the tragedy.
“I legit can’t even read it all. I have to get off Twitter because I get so upset about it,” said Jarvis. “Especially being on the bus reading it, it’s a scary thought.”
Jarvis said all this with a head covered in dyed blonde hair that all the Braves are currently sporting to show unity in the playoffs. It’s a ritual the Broncos did in their playoff run as well with a team photo of the Hulmboldt club circulating through media with the 20-plus young men showing off their new hair-dos after a win.
“Across our region, our province, our country, and our globe, we will find strength in one another,” said Kevin Garinger, Broncos president during Sunday’s vigil at Hunmboldt’s arena, which was broadcast across Canada.
Original Story at Recorder.ca