GANDER, NL – The Gander Minor Hockey Association (GMHA) will forgo the club’s annual catered banquet to donate its proceeds to the Humboldt Broncos hockey club.
“We are donating the cost of the banquet which cost about $4,500 and giving a group photo of our association to the Humboldt Broncos,” Stephanie Winsor, president of GMHA said.
Approximately 400 club members and their families put on the Flyers team jersey with green ribbons and gathered at the Steele Community Centre April 10 to pay tribute to the 16 people associated with the Broncos who died in a bus crash April 6.
Ten players from the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) team, aged 16 to 21, their coach, assistant coach, team therapist, bus driver and two employees of Humboldt radio station The Bolt FM were killed when a semi-truck and the team’s bus collided at the intersection of two rural highways. The Broncos were en route to Nipawin, SK for Game 5 of their semifinal series against the Nipawin Hawks.
Winsor spoke about friendships formed through hockey between players and also within families.
She said these bonds are shared between clubs as well, so when one hurts, the other clubs share its pain and help support it.
“So it was important for the executive to have this tribute for the Humboldt Broncos to share a moment of tribute to another team that has lost their family members,” Winsor told the crowd.
A moment of silence followed after the names of the then-15 victims were read. On April 11, Dayna Brons, the Bronco's athletic therapist died in hospital.
The banquet will still go ahead with a simpler meal of sausages and hamburgers.
Jenna Gilmore’s son Nathan is 10 and is enrolled with the hockey association. She said she has made closer connections with other families through the sport.
“It made me hug him a little tighter that night for sure,” she said. “We’ve been on a lot of road trips already, and they’ll be more coming.”