A New Westminster School Board trustee is organizing a night to commemorate the lives of the 16 people killed in last week’s tragic Humboldt Broncos hockey team bus crash in Saskatchewan.
Mary Lalji is organizing the tribute at Queen’s Park Arena in New Westminster at 7 p.m. Thursday. She said the tragedy sparked initiative in a local group of moms to honour those who were lost, and to support the families they left behind.
LISTEN: Steele of Approval — Tom Cochrane & Mary Lalji
“I have taken the lead on it but the support I have with the group of parents is awesome. I could not have done this in the last day in a half without them,” Lalji told CKNW’s Lynda Steele Show.
She said that as soon as word got out of the event, the local lacrosse community stepped up, lending out their gym despite the fact it was booked for an upcoming game.
“They said don’t worry about it, we will figure out our lacrosse game, we can cancel it,” said Lalji.
She isn’t sure how many people will attend the event but hopes the community will come together at a time of loss.
“It’s a real guesstimate, Save-on-Foods is providing 400 cookies, because that was kind of the estimate that we first were thinking. But now that it’s growing so quickly, I couldn’t tell you, she said.
“I would love to say 1,000 people. Time will tell.”
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m for anyone wanting to get there early. There will be colouring and posters for children to write and draw something meaningful.
“We’re going to plaster that all over the inside of the arena,” she said.
Lalji hopes to have local team coaches and players say a few words as well as Jonathan Cote, mayor of New Westminster.
“It’s not a vigil. It’s more just showing support and sending our love their way. And we really wanted to make a tribute and let them know that there’s many people behind them and they’re not alone and New Westminster is a part of that.”
A donation box will be placed at the event for anyone willing to contribute to the families of the deceased.