Gord Gillies: Honouring the victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash

Click to play video: 'Humboldt Broncos president speaks at funeral for Mark Cross'
Humboldt Broncos president speaks at funeral for Mark Cross
Team president Kevin Garinger talks about the addition of assistant coach Mark Cross to the Humboldt Broncos family. The funeral for Cross was held on Saturday in Strasbourg, Sask – Apr 22, 2018

The Humboldt Broncos tragedy continues to weigh heavy for a lot of us. Two weeks after the crash there’s still a feeling of sadness for millions of Canadians. Funerals have now been held and we’re left with the memories shared by friends and family about the painful loss.

It’s so, so sad.

We’ve been talking a lot about it in our home. It’s a shock and a harsh reminder of how quickly life can change. A hockey stick sits perched outside our front door as a tribute to the victims. I’m still not sure when I’ll bring it back in.

My wife works at Mount Royal University and every day she walks past the memorial to athletic therapist Dayna Brons. A photo of Brons and her beautiful smile lights up the hallway.

READ MORE: Calgary university pays tribute to Humboldt Broncos athletic therapist Dayna Brons

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The response across the country has been amazing. There was an outpouring of support, in many ways, including millions of dollars raised to help those devastated by loss or dealing with serious injuries.

I’ve done a number of interviews connected to the crash. Two stand out.

The first involved a business owner in Humboldt who opened his doors to the onslaught of arriving media. He wanted to do anything he could to help as the town of 6,000 struggled with such a horrible loss– with one request: he wanted reporters to quit calling Humboldt a “small town.”

WATCH BELOW: Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki to continue recovery in Calgary hospital

Click to play video: 'Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki to continue recovery in Calgary hospital'
Humboldt Broncos’ Ryan Straschnitzki to continue recovery in Calgary hospital

READ MORE: Funeral held for Humboldt Broncos assistant coach Mark Cross in Strasbourg

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A proud Canadian with a big heart; there was nothing small about the place he called home.

The second involved Tom Straschnitzki of Airdrie. His son Ryan survived but was badly injured and may never walk again. Ryan has become an inspiration as he vows to one day help Canada win a gold medal in Sledge hockey.

Tom beamed about how proud he was of his son and how Ryan was helping them all deal with what was to come. At the end of the interview, I asked him if there was anything we could do for them? He paused and replied: “well, 48 Molson Canadian would be nice.”

We all burst out laughing.

LISTEN: Tom Straschnitzki joins Gord to discuss his son Ryan getting into a wheelchair

A little levity in the middle of one of Canada’s darkest moments. A little reminder that we’re all in this together and fiercely proud of the cities and towns we call home.

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Canadians coast to coast have been rattled by the tragedy, but in many ways, it’s also brought us closer together.

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