April 20, 2018 12:11 am
Updated: April 20, 2018 12:14 am

Humboldt Bronco who survived crash surprises supporters at Leduc hockey game

WATCH ABOVE: Tyler Smith, a young hockey player from Leduc who survived the Humboldt Broncos bus crash on April 6 attended a game put on by the community Thursday to support him and his family.

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A community rink in Leduc, Alta. was filled with “Smith” jerseys on Thursday night in support of Tyler Smith, a Humboldt Bronco who survived the April 6 bus crash.

A close family friend planned a special hockey game to bring everyone together to rally behind Tyler and uplift him and his family during this difficult time.

READ MORE: Celebration of life in Edmonton honours 4 Humboldt Broncos players 

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Friends and former coaches and teammates of Tyler gathered at the Leduc Recreation Centre for the skate.

“It started out as just a Midget triple A practice and it’s evolved into so much more,” organizer Ami Gagnon said. “The community support has been tremendous. We’ve now turned it into an LJAC (Leduc Junior Athletic Club) alumni game … there’s probably 42 of them.

“They’re all going to have a scrimmage and we’re going to do this in support of Tyler.”

READ MORE: GoFundMe for Humboldt Broncos closes with over $15M donated

Players wrapped their sticks in green and yellow tape — Broncos’ colours — and donned Humboldt decals or put stickers on their helmets that read #SmittyStrong.

“The silent auction, the T-shirt and hat sales — hopefully they’re successful and we’ll be able to provide the family with some funds to help with his recovery and healing,” Gagnon said.

READ MORE: ‘People ask why’: How survivors’ guilt may affect the remaining Humboldt team

A late addition to Thursday’s roster surprised everyone. Tyler himself took to the ice and greeted every player before the puck dropped.

Many people were moved to tears and a lot of hugs were handed out before Tyler sat back down in a wheelchair to watch the game.

“I can’t even explain to you the amount of community support we’ve received,” Gagnon said. “It’s not surprising. He’s a wonderful human being.”

READ MORE: Alberta community of St. Albert grieves loss of 4 Humboldt Broncos players 

Sixteen people died following the crash and 13 others were injured. As of Thursday, six of the survivors remained in hospital; two still in critical condition.

 

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