When Blaine Davies heard about the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash that killed 16 people and injured 13 more, he knew he had to do something.
Davies is a Saskatchewan-based truck driver, an avid Broncos fan and a former hockey commentator for the Estevan Bruins.
“I had last winter off from truck driving and got to do some games for the Estevan Bruins. Humboldt is in our division,” he said.
“It hit everybody around the world differently. As far removed as I was, it’s just how it hit me.”
Davies had already been planning a tribute for friends who lost their brother. While driving through the US and heard about a site that lets people buy their loved one’s stars and put their name on them. He got his friend’s late brother a star in Ursa Minor, or the little dipper, the constellation where the North Star is located, as they used it while hunting.
The constellation is visible year-round across North America.
“At the time of the (bus) accident, when I heard about it, I just said, ‘oh my god, they need stars.,’”
According to Davies, part of the reason the crash affected him so much is that his background as a truck driver and his experience in the world of hockey.
“I was trying to think how I could do something,” he said.
“I watched over time as tributes poured in, and it got more and more difficult to think of what I could do. Then the starts thing came along, and it was kind of a no-brainer. I had to do it.”
Davies contacted the International Star Registry’s Canadian office and had 16 stars located within the same section of Ursa Minor named to honour the team’s players, coach, assistant coach, statistician, athletic therapist, broadcaster and bus driver who lost their lives that tragic day.
Davies also got a tattoo in honour of the Broncos, with their logo and 16 stars in honour of the 16 who perished in the crash.
Stars named by the international registry aren’t visible with the naked eye. They are only visible through powerful telescopes, as they are of magnitude 13 to 15.
The star registry packages in each victim’s name were passed along to the team to be presented to their families in Humboldt this week.
Davies attended Hockey Day in Humboldt Friday. While taking in the events, he was able to run into one of the families and tell them about the initiative. He learned the family would get their stars Friday night.
“At least they get their stars tonight,” he said.