As Canada Weeps: The Humboldt Tragedy
When Tragedy Strikes, Canadians Unite
Disclaimer: this article is written from a place of genuine love and incredible respect for the families, friends, players and staff who were directly impacted by the tragic and indescribable loss of life that had occurred on Friday, April 6, 2018 involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team. At no point do I intend to take away from your grief, and please know that I grieve with you, just as we all do. You are all very much in my heart right now. There really are no proper words for this. I am so deeply sorry for such a tremendous loss.
Admittedly, I am struggling right now as I try to muster the words to convey how the incident involving the Humboldt Broncos Hockey Team has made me feel. How it has made all of us feel. And to even try to imagine how much worse those directly involved must feel....
It is simply beyond my comprehension.
There are no words here. None. "I'm sorry" or "My Condolences" just doesn't cut it.
And I mean it when I say that I am so very and deeply sorry for such a tragic loss.
I am referring to the fatal accident that had occurred on April 6, 2018 on a quiet highway located in rural Saskatchewan, just outside of the town that my own Mother had grown up in called Tisdale. A place that I had only ever been to once when I was young for a family reunion. I still remember certain things about the area. Truth is though, the memories are insignificant and slight.
A charter bus was heading North on Highway 35, carrying members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team to a playoff game in Nipawin, SK. Now, I am not a big hockey buff (I promise you though, I am totally Canadian-born nonetheless). But to my understanding, they were heading into an "all or nothing" critical game 5 in the series. If I heard it right, they had to win this game to move forward.
Sadly, in a horrific twist of fate, the team would not be making it to this important game.
As the bus rolled on down the highway that afternoon, it was struck by a tractor-trailer that was hauling peat moss at full speed while passing the intersection that connected 35 and 335.
The tractor-trailer slammed into the bus, obliterating both vehicles.
The photos of the crash site, it's difficult to even describe. The bus itself is literally unrecognizable. The peat moss containers scattered all over the road. The semi and the remnants that were once a charter bus, on their sides and resting in the ditch.
The driver of the tractor-trailer escaped from such a devastating accident without injury.
10 players and 5 staff members, did not.
The moment that this story hit the news, and Canadian people from coast to coast were beginning to learn of this horrific tragedy, we rose.
We rose in support for the friends and families.
We rose in support of the survivors.
We rose in support of the First Responders.
And, we rose in support for the unnamed driver of the tractor-trailer.
Yes, you read that right. As Canadians, we not only stepped up for those who were suffering the loss of their sons, friends, and family members. We also rose in support of the person who is, without a doubt, beyond traumatized and experiencing a pain so unimaginable that nobody, absolutely nobody, could ever understand unless they were in his shoes.
The anguish of knowing that you were the other driver in an accident that took 15 lives, I would imagine, is incomprehensible.
We offered this person our love and support because that, my friends, is what Canadians do.
And this is why when tragedy of such magnitude hits Canadian soil, the world will rise with us in solidarity.
Because Canada is love. It really is. Canada is a nation for peace. We are a nation for hope. We are a nation for opening our doors when other nations build walls. We are among the first to roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty when the worst of the worst happens around this world. We donate time, money, blood, supplies. And we do it without having to be told. We do it because that is just what Canadians do.
"Canada has no cultural unity, no linguistic unity, no religious unity, no economic unity, no geographic unity.
All it has is unity. "
-Kenneth E. Boulding
As I write these words, I can't help but feel a sense of humbled grace and tremendous gratitude for being so damn fortunate to have been born in such an incredible country.
Of course, it is not perfect. I am not delusional and I am well-aware of the shady politics and corruption going on behind closed doors. But that is not what this is about. This is about our people and our values.
And I couldn't be more proud right now to be a part of it.
There are no words for this tragedy, as I had mentioned before. But, there is no shortage of words to describe how beautiful the outpouring of love and support for the victims and survivors actually is.
Canadians have banded together and raised more than 6 million dollars over the course of 3 days.
6 million dollars in 3 days!!
This money will go towards covering the immediate costs involved, such as funeral expenses and medical expenses. And I am almost certain, whatever is left will be used to set up a new scholarship program. I can't say for sure, but this is usually the case.
Because again, this is just what Canadians do.
Where There Is Darkness, There Is Light
There has been non-stop stories emerging since the accident that have rendered me absolutely speechless.
How the family of deceased player Logan Boulet honored his desire to be an organ donor, which in turn sent a reminder to Canadians to sign their own donor cards. There has been a literal flooding of people confirming that they are now registered organ donors, a sixfold increase in British Columbia alone.
Logan Boulet's act of selflessness by choosing to be an organ donor has saved the lives of 6 other Canadians.
I have no words to describe how I feel about that. It overwhelms me with sadness, but also a profound and deep sense of love and unity. 6 people will experience a miracle because Logan Boulet had ensured that he was an organ donor once he turned 18.
Like a tornado, for all of it's devastation there is a beauty that is impossible to describe.
Canada has experienced an outpouring of love and support from various leaders throughout the world who recognized the pain that we all experience when a tragic event like this comes out way. Even Donald Trump took a moment to recognize our sorrow and offer his condolences.
Yes, I have my issues regarding Trump. Yes, I can't stand Donald Trump. But the thought was appreciated nonetheless.
And of course, the world of Hockey. It goes without saying that Hockey is the heart and soul of this country (even though it's not my thing personally).
It's funny though, even though I don't pay Hockey any particular mind, best believe that when our Canadians are whooping ass in the Olympics, I am screaming at the television and jumping out of my seat in celebration right along with everyone else.
I don't have to be much into Hockey to feel it's significance within my own spirit. It is a part of my own identity simply because I grew up as a citizen of Canada. Hockey is the one area that most Canadians will always find a common bond and unspoken connection..
Hockey is our game. It is our pride. It is our Canada.
And there is no messin' with our pride. That is something that nothing or nobody can ever take away from us.
We will always stand strong as a community and we will always unite as a people when the need arises.
I am so grateful right now.
A Moment Of Silence
In honor of the victims, survivors, and all others that are impacted by this horrific tragedy please know this:
We love you. We are with you. And we will support you in any way that we can. This is without question.
It's just what Canadians do.
I am sending my heartfelt condolences to you all, as small as it may be during your darkest hour. There are just no words.
I am so very sorry for your loss.
In memory of the victims:
- Logan Boulet, 21, of Lethbridge, AB
- Adam Herold, 16, of Montmartre, SK
- Jaxon Joseph, 20, of Edmonton, AB
- Parker Tobin, 18, of Stony Plain, AB
- Evan Thomas, 18, of Saskatoon, SK
- Conner Lukan, 21, of Slave Lake, AB
- Jacob Leicht, 19, of Humboldt, SK
- Logan Hunter, 18, of St. Albert, AB
- Logan Schatz, 20, of Allan, SK
- Stephen Wack, 21, of St. Albert, AB
- Mark Cross, assistant coach, 27, of Strasbourg, SK
- Tyler Bieber, announcer, 29, of Humboldt, SK
- Darcy Haugan, head coach, 42, of Humboldt, SK
- Brody Hinz, stats expert, 18, of Humboldt, SK
- Glen Doerksen, bus driver, 59, of Carrot River, SK