Canadians are paying to tribute to the 15 people who were killed in the horrific bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team. They are honouring the victims by leaving hockey sticks on front porches.
The crash happened Friday as the team was heading to a semifinal game against the Nipawin Hawks, when the team bus collided with a semi-truck,killing 15 and injuring 14 others, near Tisdale, Sask.
On Sunday, thousands of people poured into the Elgar Peterson Arena in Humboldt for a vigil to honour the victims.
They were honoured outside of the community as well, as many social media users began to share photos of hockey sticks left outside on front porches in tribute to the Broncos team.
FULL COVERAGE: Humboldt Broncos bus crash
Winnipeg Jets broadcaster and Humboldt native, Brian Munz, appeared to be the first to post the hockey stick tribute on Twitter, by sharing a text he said he received from a friend he went to high school with in Humboldt.
Munz shared an image of the text message and a photo accompanying it.
“Leaving it out on the porch tonight. The boys might need it … wherever they are,” reads the text message.
That friend, Chad Lins, told 630 CHED’s Reid Wilkins that placing the stick outside his door was “just something to do to show solidarity with the community.”
Listen below: Reid Wilkins of 630 CHED’s Inside Sports speaks to Matt Sammon, director of broadcasting, for the Tampa Bay Lightning and Chad Lins, whose text prompted the #sticksoutforHumboldt hashtag.
Lins told Wilkins that he texted the photo to a couple of people from Humboldt who had moved away from the town, and had no idea that it would catch on so quickly.
The photo with it, shows a lone hockey stick leaning against a wall on the front step of a house.
“Inviting you to do the same as we remember and send our thoughts to the #HumboldtBroncos,” the broadcaster tweeted along with the photos.
And just like that, others began to share images of hockey sticks being left outside and tweeting condolences to Humboldt and the Broncos team.
“Leaving our sticks on the front porch with lights on in honour of hockey families and friends of #HumboldtBroncos Canada Mourns with you,” Greg Burgess tweeted.
“We are all Broncos in memory of those who lost their lives and continue to fight for their lives we put our sticks outside under the lights to remember you #HumboldtBroncos #putyoursticksout #WeAreAllBroncos,” Vicki Sweet tweeted.
The hashtag #putyoursticksout reached as far away as China, with expats joining in the tribute.
Lins said there has been at least a dozen sticks outside doors in his Winnipeg neighbourhood alone.
“I think it just speaks to how visceral this tragedy is, and how close people to it… everyone feels that could have been them or their kids,” Lins said.
The victims include Broncos captain Logan Schatz along with nine other players, coaches Darcy Haugun and Mark Cross, the team’s statistician, radio play-by-play announcer and the driver of the bus.
Here’s more of a look at the hockey stick tribute.
The #putyoursticks out hashtag went on to get responses from people around the world.
–With files from Global News’ Rebecca Joseph and David Giles, as well as 630 CHED’s Adam Brilz and Reid Wilkins