The two teams partnered with the new non-profit organization Hockey Gives Blood, which was formed after the Broncos bus crash with the goal of creating awareness in the hockey community about the importance of blood donation.
“We came up with the idea that if teams and leagues started making donating blood a part of their program — because those teams and leagues are leaders in the community — if they were leading the way, that younger generation who look up to them will follow,” said Stu Middleton, co-founder of Hockey Gives Blood.
Coaching staff from the Blades and the Broncos gave blood. Players from both teams also volunteered to check their blood types and swab their cheeks for stem cell matching.
“It’s going to show the country how great the hockey community can be. These young hockey players are terrific young men who care,” said Middleton.
Broncos defenceman Michael Bladon, 18, decided to give blood for the first time.
“One of the reasons I did it is because my grandpa had blood cancer, and he recently passed away so I’ve always wanted to do it,” said Bladon.
Bladon said he wasn’t sure what blood type he was before Saturday.
“Once I got my blood sample back, that was a big reason why I did it,” said Bladon. “I’m O negative, which is awesome so I can give it to everybody so I figure I might as well.”
“With everything that happened in April, I thought it was important that we be here and try to help out as much as we can,” said Broncos head coach Nathan Oystrick.
The Broncos bus crash on April 6 left 16 people dead and 13 injured.
Canadian Blood Services said they saw an outpouring of donations the next morning following the crash.
“Instantly, that Saturday morning, people were lined up before we opened and showing up all day and throughout the month and into May, even. We were at full capacity for that entire time,” said Mike Fisher, territory manager for Canadian Blood Services.