The usual news of the day seemed to lose its importance this weekend.
Trump’s latest tweet, Syria’s ongoing misery, the world’s most recent outrage, all faded like breath on a cool prairie night – replaced by the cold tragedy of a team, a town and a country shaken by senseless death.
The Humboldt Broncos were en route to their junior hockey playoff game Friday when a semi-trailer plowed into the side of their team bus.
Early reports confirmed fatalities.
As the hours passed the enormity of the tragedy emerged. The crash claimed 15 lives; another 14 were injured.
To a country steeped in hockey, the loss was keenly felt. Every parent who has watched a team bus pull away – son or daughter on board – felt the sting. Every player, former or current; every fan who has shared a ride, or followed the hopes and aspirations of young athletes understood the cruelty of that crash.
So many dreams lost; so many more irreparably altered.
The outpouring of a nation began immediately. Hockey legend Hayley Wickenheiser added her voice to the growing effort to support the families of those killed and those who survived.
By Monday nearly 76,000 people had committed $5.6 million to a gofundme account started by Humbolt resident Sylvie Kellington. Across the country – including Chilliwack – vigils were held, heads were bowed and silence observed.
The tragedy was recognized at nearly every major weekend sporting event.
But perhaps the most touching tribute was the simplest: a hockey stick propped against a doorstep.
“Leaving it out on the porch tonight,” read the text message from a former highschool friend to Winnipeg Jets broadcaster and Humboldt native Brian Munz.
“The boys might need it … wherever they are.”