Close to Home; Mourning the Humboldt Broncos

Abigale McCullough, St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School

They say April showers bring May flowers but that hasn’t been the truth this past month. It snowed, it rained and now the sun is fighting through the clouds. Even though the weather has been below par, students at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School (STS) in Tottenham continue to support the community and fellow Canadians.

On April 12th, students and teachers participated in a jersey day to support and commemorate the Humboldt Broncos hockey team after the tragic bus crash that polarized our nation in grief. Our school was a sea of solidarity with so many students wearing sports jerseys. STS continued to be supportive by raising money and keeping Humboldt friends and families in our thoughts and prayers throughout the dark days following the accident.

Many STS students play on various sports teams and felt connected to the Humboldt tragedy. The brother/sisterhood that is part of participating in a group sport or activity is a strong bond that even the test of time can’t break. The Humboldt accident brought many strong feelings to light and was a reality check for members of sports teams from our very own small school community.

Student Nathan S. plays hockey for the Alliston Hornets and had this to say when speaking about his strong shared bond between teammates, “The family-like feeling that you get when playing on a sports team almost always comes instantly. It’s having this at home feeling whenever you’re with your team and feeling very comfortable with being who you are around all of them and knowing that they accept your differences. It lasts a lifetime and the memories you make through every game together and every joke bonds you just that much closer.”

Speaking to several students during Jersey Day made me realize that even though Saskatchewan seems far away, the accident hits close to home for so many Canadians and students at STS. The empathy shared between teammates and the close-knit community created by the sport makes the tragedy so relatable. That is why supporting the families of those who have passed away, both blood family and team family has been a very big priority throughout this past month for STS students. To the Humboldt Broncos, STS is keeping you in our thoughts and prayers.

Below is a poem written by Grade 10 student Irby S. from STS, a vigil and tribute to those who lost their lives that terrible day:

Our Broncos, Our Heroes

By Irby Syed

Sadly a joyous ride turned into their final ride,
The joy of hockey turned into grieving nationwide,
The nation is united offering prayers and donations,
Our feelings are shocked, flocked to one destination,
They are the Heroes, they are the Broncos

As we see the victims and read their colours,
Gold and green turned into red and black,
Ourselves are forgotten in the need of the mothers,
Sobbing and wanting their children to come back.
They are the Heroes, they are the Broncos

Hockey sticks put out for our lost brothers and sisters,
Families embraced with the warmth of this nation,
Memories that can’t be cut short by scissors,
It will last far past the future generations.
They are the Heroes, they are the Broncos

We will always remember