The home of Evan Thomas’ grandparents in Brandon, Man. has been devoted to a #SticksOutForHumboldt memorial after his parents rushed to Saskatchewan in the aftermath of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
Thomas, a forward for the Broncos, was killed when a semi-truck collided with the team bus on April 6 along with 15 others. Another 13 were injured and several remain in serious condition at a Saskatoon hospital.
His father, who lives in Saskatoon, was driving up to Nipawin to watch the game and arrived at the crash site later that night.
Grandparents Frank and Betty Thomas, who hail from Brandon, headed to Saskatoon soon after.
That’s when the pair heard about the Sticks out for Humboldt movement, where Canadians around the world had placed their hockey sticks on their porches in support of the victims of the crash.
They asked their friends in Brandon to round up 15 hockey sticks to memorialize the 15 killed at the time (the death count rose to 16 on Wednesday).
Frank and Noreen Maguire – who’ve met Evan a few times over the years – stepped up started rounding up the required sticks, but ended up getting way more than the required amount.
“It’s devastating to the people involved but it’s also really hard on relatives, friends and so if you can do something in a small, small way, to help out in a positive manner, that’s what we like to do,” Frank Maguire told Global News.
He said since Monday, when they started, they have gathered over 50 sticks and various memorabilia to honour Evan – which have been placed outside the Thomas’ house.
Maguire said the story has resonated with many people across the country and people just want to show support in any way they can.
“It’s part of a Canadian thing that we help out each other as much as we can, especially small town Canada,” Maguire said.
He said the Thomas’ think the memorial, which spans the front of the house, think it’s great.
Evan’s father Scott told Global News Wednesday he was moved by all of the support he has received from across Canada.
“It’s overwhelming no question,” he said. “From the general public. That part is unbelievable.”
*With a file from Kevin Nielsen