The tragedy of the accident in Humboldt Saskatchewan has caught the attention of our entire Country. It’s a devastating event that has rocked a community to its core. Canada is a hockey nation so it’s not hard to understand how a story like this hits home.
Personally, at home I have three boys who play hockey; 9, 10 and 12 year olds. My eyes were welling up just writing that. We spend a lot of time in arenas over the course of the season. Home away from home as it were. A second family. And not just the kids, the parents too. You quickly come to understand the bond and the memories of what is created at those rinks every weekend.
I’m not alone. Hockey is just part of being a Canadian. I work with parents of hockey players. My friends are parents of hockey players. I have friends who are hockey players. My friends billet hockey players. We all know a hockey player. You’ve probably stayed at a hotel while a hockey tournament is in town and you’ve probably sat beside a hockey team for breakfast too. Our local OHL team is the Barrie Colts. If you live here, you’ve probably been to one of their games. You’ve probably seen their bus. You’ve probably seen “the other team’s” bus. That’s why this has affected us so much. And while this is a hockey story, the fact is that it applies to anyone who is part of a team or organized sport.
The mere thought of losing a part of that so called “second family” in such a horrific event is devastating. And so, we all grieve. Because we all feel connected somehow to the loss of a team member.
I burst into tears going through my Facebook feed last night seeing photos of hockey sticks on porches. How simple. How appropriate. I get overwhelmed by the creativity and speed at which folks come up with ways to show their support. An even further testament to how alike we are from coast to coast and how ingrained hockey is as a culture here in Canada. In the age of Social Media, a gesture like that can, and did, spread across a Nation in hours. I drove to work today only to see hockey sticks leaning on houses everywhere.
When I pulled into work here at Flags Unlimited, our own pole has been switched out to fly a Saskatchewan flag. Emails and phone calls poured in from across the country with people trying to figure out what they can do. We work in a very niche marketplace. But we sell a product that represents so much more to people than just a flag. Because of this, Flags Unlimited is often turned to as an authority on flags. Flags are a way of showing pride and respect, marking territory, honouring heritage and making statements. In times of sadness, people continue to use flags in much the same way. They’re a way to mark remembrance, show support and display a united front. Happy or sad, whatever your reason to fly a flag, it remains a symbol of respect and solidarity.
Because of your requests, we are honoured to announce Flags for Humboldt. We have the approval from the Saskachewan Junior Hockey League to provide Humbolt Strong flags for sale. $10 from the sale of every flag will go directly to the SJHL Assistance Program. This program was started in light of this recent accident with the intent to raise money for all the people affected.
“This program will aid in providing mental health assistance, counselling and grieving for all players of the SJHL.” – SJHL
Our thoughts are with all the families, team members, staff and community involved. And on a personal note my porch is lined with hockey sticks too.