Late Friday afternoon, April 6th, the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League was changed forever when the bus carrying players, coaches, and officials for the Humboldt Broncos was involved in a motor vehicle accident that resulted in fifteen people losing their lives and many others suffering life altering injuries, both physically and mentally.
While there were 29 people directly involved in this tragedy, the reality is that the implications are much more far reaching and to that end, the SJHL is establishing and announcing today the SJHL Assistance Program. The intent is to raise funds for all people, not just within the Humboldt Broncos, who are affected by this awful event.
The reality for players is that the hockey world is small. Through trades at the junior level, through participation in events such as all-star games, showcase weekends, national competitions, and even through coming through the minor hockey systems in each of their communities, everyone who plays, works, volunteers, or is involved with the SJHL will have direct and, deeply, personal connections with the victims of Friday’s crash.
Even in competition, players know who they are going up against. In some cases, you may play against a team as often as ten times in a regular season and another seven in the playoffs. The familiarity within our league is immense and it is far reaching.
Hockey players respect those who they compete against and the SJHL is a family, so we recognize that while there is grieving to be done within Humboldt; there is also a lot of suffering with the other eleven teams and it’s imperative that support structure is put in to place.
This program will aid in providing mental health assistance, counselling and grieving for all players of the SJHL. Should there be funds available, the extra monies will go into an education plan in memory of the lives lost on April 6, 2018.