A campaign launched by a group of self-described hockey moms in Langley to have people show support for the victims of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash by wearing hockey jerseys on April 12 has gone international, with messages of support coming in from across Canada, the U.S. and Europe.
The group set up a Facebook page following the Friday crash that claimed the lives of 15 hockey players.
“We want to show our support to the families of Humboldt Broncos,” the message reads.
“They are currently going through a tragedy that no family or community should experience. As hockey families we are here for you!”
“On Thursday April 12, 2018 … wear your Jersey to school, work, anywhere you go.”
Organizers will be using the hashtag #jerseysforhumboldt on April 12 for everyone to share their photos of support by wearing their jersey.
As a hockey community, we stand with our friends in Humboldt, Saskatchewan. Wear your jerseys on Thursday April 12th to show your support. #humboltstrong @LangleySchools @ACSSAthletics pic.twitter.com/NmwNhAmYxa
— Aldergrove Community Secondary School (@ACSS_Totems) April 8, 2018
One of the organizers, Teressa Bramley, said a group of about 10 Langley-area “hockey moms” were talking on social media about the tragedy and expressing a desire to do more than share feelings when one mom, Cori Fox, came up with the idea.
Fox politely disputes that, saying the idea was the result of at least four people communicating back and forth on a Facebook page she set up for hockey moms to talk in the wake of the tragedy.
“I don’t want to take sole credit,” Fox said.
She said the “wear-your-jersey” idea was likely inspired by the anti-bullying t-shirt campaign and other initiatives where supporters of a team or a cause demonstrate their support by wearing a team jersey or a t-shirt.
“We felt helpless. We felt the need to do something,” Fox said.
Bramley said as a mother with a 16-year-old son playing first-year Midget hockey, news of the crash hit home.
“It’s your biggest fear, to get that phone call” Bramley told The Times. “It could be any of our kids.”
Since the group went public, Bramley said word has spread and hockey moms in other communities have joined, bringing the total to over 300 as of Sunday morning.
“We just want to show our solidarity with these kids,” Bramley said.
“If you don’t have one (a jersey to wear on the day), borrow one,” she said.
And it doesn’t have to be a hockey jersey as far as the moms are concerned, Bramley added, because the Humboldt players almost certainly were involved in other sports like baseball and soccer.
“It could be any sport.”
The goal, Bramley said, is to show support to the families of the victims.
“To say, we stand beside you as you go through this.”
Among the messages of support posted to the page, Margaret Carter from the United Kingdom wrote “My deepest sympathies for you and your country in your loss.”
“Wizzy Boo,” a resident of Roanoke Virginia wrote “I will be wearing my jersey from our local team, The Rail Yard Dawgs. Thoughts and prayers to the Humboldt community. “
A GoFundMe campaign to help the families of the victims had raised more than $3 million by Sunday morning.
It was launched by Sylvie Kellington, a resident of Humboldt, Saskatchewan, who has a son that played for the Broncos Bantam A team.
“Money will go directly to families to help with any expenses incurred,” she said.
Broncos President, Kevin Garinger issued a statement: “Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the families of our staff and athletes as well as to all who have been impacted by this horrible tragedy. Our Broncos family is in shock as we try to come to grips with our incredible loss.”