Offering support

Scott Moe gives his victory speech after being voted as the new leader of the Saskatchewan Party and, by extension, Saskatchewan's premier, at the Sask. Party Leadership Convention in Saskatoon on Jan. 27, 2017. -- Peter Lozinski/Daily Herald

Premier Scott Moe sends his heart to Humboldt as the sports world does its part in the wake of Friday’s tragic collision

Premier Scott Moe spoke to media Saturday afternoon about the tragic bus crash that killed 15 near Tisdale on Friday evening. Portions of his speech are reprinted below:

“This is a time of great sorrow for our province. Today we pray for the families who lost loved ones in this horrible accident. It’s our hope that in time they find a measure of comfort and solace, although we understand that journey is going to be difficult. We pray for the injured and we pray for their families. We send our support to the health care professionals caring for those in need. I want to thank everyone involved. I want to thank the RCMP, the ambulance crews, the firefighters, STARS, our medical teams, the City of Humboldt, the Humboldt Broncos Association, all of those volunteers in Humboldt, Nipawin, Tisdale and the Red Cross.

“Their response was immediate, their response was comprehensive, and their response was compassionate. Their response was Saskatchewan at its very best. We’ve seen an incredible outpouring of compassion and generosity from across the nation, and now from around the world. We in this province are so grateful.

“I’ve had the opportunity to talk to Humboldt Mayor Muench, who has shown tremendous leadership in this difficult time, and I offer the mayor the full support of this province.”

Moe said he attended a government operations call earlier in the day and offered his full support for whatever is needed.

“I reinforced our government’s commitment to ensure that every resource at our disposal is made available to help all of those impacted by this tragedy. This includes grief counselling for families, friends and all of those that may be impacted by this incident.”

He said he contacted the mayors of Nipawin and Tisdale, along with Humboldt Broncos president Kevin Garinger.

He also heard from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several Canadian premiers.

“They have all offered their condolences and supports. I pass along their support and their prayers for the city of Humboldt and all their friends and family.

“This is a tragedy that reverberates across our province and across our nation. Ladies and gentlemen, I know that the pain and suffering is felt most deeply in the community of Humboldt, but I think all of us in Saskatchewan and across Canada feel a tremendous loss.

“In this province, we are really just one small town. We are neighbours, we are friends and we are family, tightly knit. The bonds are strong and there is no place where they are stronger than in our hockey arenas. The hearts of so many of our communities in our province, and today, our heart is broken.

“On that bus was young men. Vibrant, smart, talented young men with everything to look forward to. Young men just beginning their lives, guided by dedicated coaches, staff and volunteers. They played hockey in this league, and they played hockey on this team because they had tremendous talent. They were among the very best in our country.

“In these young men, the players, the coaches, the staff, every individual and family in this province will see themself. In these boys, we see teammates. We see classmates, we see friends, we see brothers, sons and grandsons.

“These boys are our boys. Their team is our team. Their school is our school. Their community is our community. Their families are now our families.

“I’m asking everyone in this province and across Canada to support our team, the Humboldt Broncos. I’m asking everyone to do what they can to support the families that are suffering, and a community devastated by this loss, but a community we know will persevere.

“At this dark moment, let the strong arms of Saskatchewan provide a loving embrace to the community and the families of the Humboldt Broncos.

“God bless Humboldt, and God bless Saskatchewan.”

People from across the sporting world were touched by the crash. Every NHL and ECHL game played Saturday night began with a moment of silence. The Winnipeg Jets and Chicago Blackhawks donned nameplates on the backs of their jerseys that said “Broncos” and stood arm-in-arm at centre ice before the game.

The teams each provided a donation of $25,000, as did the NHL, to the Jets’ 50/50 draw. The draw’s proceeds were to go to the Broncos. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames also donated $10,000 to the team over the course of the day, while the Pittsburgh Penguins put in $20,000.

Other teams, including the Western Hockey League’s Moose Jaw Warriors and Swift Current Broncos, sported Humboldt Broncos stickers on their helmets. The NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights did likewise.

Off the ice, Sportsnet produced a one-minute video tribute, and the Hockey Night in Canada crew dedicated their Coach’s Corner segment to the Broncos.

It wasn’t isolated to hockey, either. The Texas Rangers held a moment of silence ahead of their game against the Toronto Blue Jays. The Boston Red Sox also held a moment of silence in honour of the tragedy.

A GoFundMe page started Friday evening had raised over $2 million by Saturday evening, including the contributions from the Flames, Leafs and Penguins. Other large contributions were made by companies such as Mosaic, Crescent Point, Rogers and Sportsnet. Hundreds of everyday citizens also contributed, wanting to do their part for the team.

The funds will cover medical and funeral costs, along with any other expenses. The fundraising organizer and GoFundMe are in touch with the Humboldt Broncos directly.