‘We all hold it close to our heart’: Sask. man pays tribute to the Humboldt Broncos with chain mail flag

WATCH ABOVE: A Humboldt Broncos tribute stirring emotion across a continent.

What started off as a hobby has now turned into one man’s mission to pay tribute to the Humboldt Broncos, creating a flag out of what is typically recognized as medieval armour.

“We’re taking the Broncos logo and we’ve converted into a chain mail pattern,” said Duane Leicht, creator of the flag project.

Usually worn by medieval knights, each aluminum ring just big enough to fit over a pencil is hand-woven together. In total, Leicht says it will take roughly 100,000 rings to create an eight-by-five-foot flag.

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“We want [the Broncos] to see there is still support out there — that we all still grieve,” Leicht said. “They say there’s six degrees of separation, well in my case there’s only two.”

Last April, Leicht’s cousin lost his 19-year-old son Jacob Leicht in the bus crash that claimed the lives of 16 and injured 13 others.

The heartbreak, which is still felt by so many, is a motivating factor behind the project.

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“It’s something that we need to do, that everyone involved has felt a need to do because we are all affected,” Leicht said.

Leicht says support has poured in from across North America with people wanting to contribute to the project.

On Thursday, the crew on call that night from Regina’s STARS Air Ambulance took time out of their day to add a few rings to the flag.

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“[That night] we went direct to Nipawin,” said STARS Air Ambulance pilot Ian Bonnell.

“When we got to Nipawin our air medical crew, as well as the physicians, jumped out and went into the hospital there to see how they could help out best and figure out what patient would be coming with us.”

The tragedy is now a permanent reminder, as a Humboldt Strong decal is stamped beneath the STARS helicopter.

“We all hold it close to our heart that’s for sure,” Bonnell said.

Once the flag is complete, Leicht plants to present it to the team at a future game as a symbol of support and a tribute that will live on.