Communities around the Okanagan held vigils, fundraisers and simple moments of silence to show support for the victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash and their Saskatchewan community.
Don Richmond, a chaplain with Hockey Ministries International, lead a gathering at Kelowna’s Prospera Place Thursday afternoon which was organized by Springfield Funeral Home.
“It is absolutely heart-wrenching,” Richmond said. “Devastation has not only rocked our world but rocks Canada and the larger hockey world.”
“There are devastated families who will not be seeing their sons, or their grandsons, or their brothers, or their dads or their husbands come home again. is absolutely the worst nightmare the hockey world could imagine.”
Yellow and green balloons were released as the victim’s names were read out.
“We have spent a lot of time watching the young people play hockey and feel terribly terribly distraught over these poor people who’ve lost their children in this crash,” Shirley Walrod, a local hockey grandmother, said at the event.
“You just think of supporting your kids doing what they want to do and all these kids going on the bus to do what they love to do,” Jen McIntyre, a mother who came to the event with her children, said. “It’s heartbreaking. So when tragedy strikes we should all come together and try and support each other anyway that we can.”
The crowd then held hands, wearing their hockey jerseys and Bronco’s colours, and posed for a photo with a ‘Humboldt Strong’ sign.
The photo will be sent to the Saskatchewan community to show support.
In West Kelowna, the BCHL Warriors organized a vigil at Royal LePage Place.
Hockey parents came together with former NHL players for a fundraiser hockey game at the Capital News Centre in Kelowna. Proceeds will be forwarded to the GoFundMe campaign.