I will not forget the Humboldt Broncos.
Nor will you.
Nor will the millions of Canadians across this country.
Because what happened 365 days ago has been seared into the memory of every Canadian and many more around the world.
Everyone will remember where they were when they heard the news.
I was at home, on my couch. The pain was real.
However, for us, the pain is unimaginable to what the families of those 29 Broncos have endured the last year.
Sixteen lives were lost that day at the intersection of a rural Saskatchewan highway south of Nipawin when the Broncos’ bus collided with a semi-truck.
Bolt FM personality and Broncos play-by-play broadcaster Tyler Bieber, team statistician Brody Hinz, athletic therapist Dayna Brons, head coach Darcy Haugan, assistant coach Mark Cross, bus driver Glen Doerksen, defenceman Logan Boulet, defenceman Adam Herold, right-winger Logan Hunter, centre Jaxon Joseph, left-winger Jacob Leicht, centre Conner Lukan, team captain and centre Logan Schatz, right-winger Evan Thomas, goaltender Parker Tobin and defenceman Stephen Wack all lost their lives in the crash.
13 will forever carry scars of that day.
Meanwhile, defenceman Morgan Gobeil, centre Derek Patter, centre Brayden Camrud, right-winger Graysen Cameron, right-winger Kaleb Dalhgren, defenceman Bryce Fiske, left-winger Matthieu Gomercic, defenceman Xavier Labelle, defenceman Layne Matechuk, centre Nick Shumlanski, defenceman Ryan Straschnitzki, centre Tyler Smith and goaltender Jacob Wasserman all survived the crash.
In the hours, and days that followed, over $15-million was raised through a GoFundMe account with donations from over 80 countries.
That doesn’t even count the hundreds of thousands that were raised in many other ways for the survivors.
In the wake of tragedy, Canadians stepped up and rallied behind the Humboldt Broncos, who quickly became Canada’s team.
The Humboldt Broncos rebuilt. Led by Bronco’s Patter and Camrud, the team finished the season with a 35-19-3-1 record, good enough for sixth in the 12 team league.
While the Broncos were unable to make it beyond the second round, the team took the Estevan Bruins to Game 7.
Tonight at the home of the Humboldt Broncos, Humboldt’s Elgar Peterson Arena, thousands will pack the stands of the arena for a memorial service.
Outside, I’m sure thousands more will join them
At 4:50 p.m., the service will pause for a moment of silence and I encourage you, where ever you are, to do the same.
The service will be televised live on TSN.
These days, when I step into a hockey rink, I can’t help but think about the Humboldt Broncos.
And that will be something that will happen every time I do.
Together, forever, we will remain #HumboldtStrong.