Humboldt Broncos tribute center continues to gather support


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As the four-year anniversary of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash that killed 16 members of its hockey team and staff approaches, a $35-million fundraising campaign continues to work toward a tribute center and memorial site.

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A group of Edmonton volunteers gathered at the Chateau Lacombe Hotel Wednesday evening for a presentation on the tribute centre. Ed Tobin, whose son Parker died in the crash, said he hopes the center “inspires the next generation.”

“I think our number one goal is to give something back to the community,” said Tobin, a member of the Humboldt Broncos Memorials Committee, following the presentation.

“I think the boys would want us to give something back, and this is our vision for how we’re going to achieve that.”

The center will include a tribute gallery, which will honor those who lost their lives or had their lives impacted by the crash, celebrate the team’s culture and values, and include visuals and video from the team, alumni and NHL greats. It will also include a rink and could one day be the new home for the Broncos.

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The center will also have a community fitness facility, which will have a physical and emotional health centre.

“If we’re able to have a place at the tribute center where physical health is important, but also the mental and emotional aspect as well, I think that would be valuable and I think that’s something that gets overlooked quite a bit,” he said Tyler Smith, who was injured in the 2018 crash and now speaks publicly about mental health.

The tribute center will embrace Broncos’ head coach Darcy Haugan’s “core covenant.” The team’s culture included the covenant, which called on members to put family first, to treat teammates and co-workers with respect, to play each game and practice with passion and determination, and to always give more than you take.

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“I think we all are just incredibly proud to be attached to something like the core covenant and Darcy,” said Smith.

“To be able to really see it, and to be able to really feel it will be something that I’ll forever cherish. I think that’s what really created that special bond as a team, so the least we can do is hopefully be able to project those incredible values ​​that were taught to a lot of people involved in the game.”

Smith said it will still be a “tough place to go to” but he believes a lot of good can be done at the tribute centre.

A permanent memorial site at the scene of the crash is also in development and Tobin said the current site is “pretty solemn.” He said the site would have information about each of the 16 team members who lost their lives.

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“Our number one goal with the crash site is to create a memorial where people can access it safely and pay respects,” he said.

The crash on April 6, 2018, was felt throughout the nation, with people across Canada leaving hockey sticks on their porches to show support for the victims and survivors.

Several Albertans suffered from the crash, with six of the 16 crash victims being from this province — including three from St. Albert and another from Stony Plain.

Gregg Sauter, vice-president of DCG Philanthropic Services, which is managing the fundraising process, said they are hoping for government support and are thankful for those already involved, such as the Edmonton Oilers.

Sauter said the Oilers helped last year with a 50/50 draw and are stepping up again this year to host a Broncos night and 50/50 during the team’s game on April 1.

Anyone interested in supporting the fundraiser, which launched last year, can donate online while any companies or organizations looking to get involved can contact organizers at broncostributecampaign.com.

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