By Nicole Thompson
THE CANADIAN PRESS
Social media users are reaching out to the Saskatchewan town of Humboldt, sharing photos of hockey sticks left on front porches to pay tribute to the 15 lives lost after a bus carrying the Broncos junior hockey team collided with a semi truck.
The tragedy has captured the world’s attention and while millions of dollars have been raised for the victims’ families, some have looked for other ways to commemorate those affected.
Among the first to post about the #putyourstickout movement was Trevor Ollen.
The Calgary resident said he and his five-year-old son placed a hockey stick on their front porch on Saturday night, after the full extent of Friday’s crash had emerged. His boy, he said, made sure they left the porch light on all night in order to illuminate the piece of equipment.
“It was really a teaching moment for us to talk to our children about loss and how, when you’re in a moment like this, what can you really do? You can make donations for these families, but a kid doesn’t make a donation,” Ollen said.
“This is something that kids could do to feel like they’re making a difference and showing solidarity with the people of Humboldt.”
Ollen was inspired by a similar online campaign in Australia dating back to 2014, he said, when cricket player Phillip Hughes died after being struck on the back of the head with a ball. To pay tribute, Australians left their cricket bats outside.
The tribute gained traction on Sunday night when Winnipeg Jets broadcaster and Humboldt native Brian Munz shared a screenshot on Twitter of a text message he said he received from a high school friend in the town of 6,000 people.
“Leaving it out on the porch tonight. The boys might need it … wherever they are,” the screenshot reads, along with a picture of a hockey stick.
The tweet has been shared thousands of times.
Munz invited others to join the tributes, prompting scores of users to post similar photos and messages of support.
Teena Monteleone, a Prince Albert, Sask.-based radio host, identified herself as having billeted Adam Herold, one of the Broncos to die in the crash.
“Leaving a stick on the porch tonight in support of the Humboldt Broncos and in memory of (Adam Herold) an amazing hockey player and young man we had the honour of billeting,” she tweeted.
The campaign was one way among many that people were commemorating the team.
Others promised to wear hockey jerseys on Thursday to show support for those grieving. That day would have marked the 17th birthday of Herold the youngest member of the team.
Meanwhile, the Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks honoured the Humboldt team by wearing jerseys with the word BRONCOS across their name plates during their regular-season finale on Saturday night.
The Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks all wore Humboldt Broncos decals on their helmets during games on Saturday night. The latter two teams also wore Broncos-coloured green and yellow lapel ribbons.