Roy Green: Humboldt’s wound is deep, the pain is raw

The sun rises across the Prairies as a cross made out of hockey sticks is seen at a makeshift memorial at the intersection of of a fatal bus crash near Tisdale, Sask., Tuesday, April, 10, 2018. A bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos hockey team crashed into a truck en route to Nipawin for a game Friday night, killing 15 and sending more than a dozen more to hospital. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The most personal emotion is the crushing grief that accompanies the end of life. Death appears in many guises, always as the unwelcome intruder, the indiscriminate thief.

The thief is a daily companion. When we take a seat in a motor vehicle, board an aircraft, pedal a bicycle, or engage in a myriad of undertakings, we understand the varying degrees of danger involved in even relatively benign activities. Most of us have learned to pay marginal heed. Safety has been engineered into our daily lives.

READ MORE: First funeral of Humboldt Broncos bus crash victims to be held 

The young men of the Humboldt Broncos would have climbed aboard their team bus focused on victory in Game 5 of their series against the Nipawin Hawks. The Hawks had given up three short-handed goals in Game 4, but still managed to win in overtime. With their opponents up 3-1 in the seven-game series, this was a must-win evening for the Broncos. At worst, they might have expected the series to end, with the perfunctory “good game, see you next year” centre-ice exchanges.

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LISTEN: Randy MacLean, vice president of the Humboldt Broncos, joins the Roy Green Show

Across this nation, Canadians in the main remained unaware of the drama playing out on the ice between the Broncos and Hawks. Hockey playoff series were unwinding in thousands of communities. Team buses, filled with young athletes, coaches, broadcasters and statisticians, wound their way to and fro between arenas. The sounds were laughter, songs and team chants. Then, closing in on the other team’s arena, shouts of “let’s go guys,” and “dig deep” would begin.

WATCH BELOW: Canadians sport hockey sweaters in support of Humboldt victims

Click to play video 'Jersey Day: Canadians sport hockey sweaters in support of Humboldt victims' Jersey Day: Canadians sport hockey sweaters in support of Humboldt victims
Jersey Day: Canadians sport hockey sweaters in support of Humboldt victims – Apr 12, 2018

Today, Canada is deeply aware of the Humboldt Broncos and Nipawin Hawks playoff series, with a torturous moment on a Saskatchewan highway etched into our national consciousness. Images of the crash between the team bus and the semi-trailer rig frequently and involuntarily push their way into the mind’s eye.

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LISTEN: Continuing the conversation about Humboldt, and a memorial

People who would need a map to find Humboldt, Sask., now wipe away tears, and not for the first time. Hockey families are wishing their kids home. A Dad wrote in an email, “I took time off work and am driving to where my son is playing. I’ll be driving him home.”

Humboldt, Saskatchewan is now Canada’s Humboldt. Millions of Canadians are offering prayers and reaching out as they can. Perhaps it’s the GoFundMe page, perhaps it’s a wish to purchase equipment for the Broncos. There are many suggestions for a memorial.

We have been touched deeply and remain so. A terrible moment allowed the intruder to claim so many lives. How often has it been suggested, “If only one of those vehicles had been 30 seconds earlier or later at the scene …”

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The wound is deep, the pain remains raw.

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio Network.

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