The crash involving junior hockey team the Humboldt Broncos has shaken the hockey world to it's core, and despite the fact that it occurred a week ago now it continues to dominate the news cycle as players, fans, and especially families continue to mourn after arguably the worst hockey tragedy since the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash in 2011.
All in all the tragedy claimed the lives of 16 innocent people, most of whom were extremely promising young men and women who had their entire lives ahead of them. As a result a small tight-knit group of communities in Saskatchewan has been left devastated, but thankfully the response from the hockey community has been one of overwhelming support.
At the time of this writing the Go Fund Me that was set up for the Humboldt Broncos in the wake of this tragedy has raised nearly 11 million dollars, and that kind of money will be able to provide the families most impacted by this tragedy with the best resources available to help them cope with their grief. Of course no amount of money will ever be able to replace the lives that were lost as a result of this incident, but several prominent figures in the National Hockey League have already stepped up to offer their support.
Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby has already gone beyond the call of duty to lend his support to the grieving families in Saskatchewan.
“It’s a terrible tragedy,” Crosby said after Monday’s practice at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex as per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s hard to imagine what those kids and the families and entire community is going through. We’re certainly thinking about them.”
It true Crosby fashion though he did not settle for merely offering kind words to those families. Crosby instructed Penguins equipment manager Dana Heinze to make a customized jersey that reads "Broncos" were the nameplate would normally be on a players jersey.
Crosby wasn't done there however, he then signed the jersey himself and got every other Penguins player to sign it as well and sent it over to the Humboldt Broncos as soon as possible. The Penguins also reported that Crosby also signed personalized photos for each one of the survivors, many of whom are still recovery in hospital. According to the Penguins the photos read "Stay strong. We're thinking of you."
Now however another of the NHL's stars has stepped up and gone above and beyond the call of duty. According to a report from Satchel Price of the Chicago Sun-Times Toews has traveled to Humboldt to lend his support to the families in need, and personally hand-delivered game-worn jersey from the Blackhawks final game of the season. When a big time star like Toews could be resting at home and resting during the playoffs, something Toews has not had the opportunity to do in the past, he instead chooses to give his time to others.
Toews and executive chairman of the Winnipeg Jets Mark Chipman delivered over 50 game-worn jerseys to Humboldt. This is no public relations stunt either, Toews is a proud Canadian and his actions today indicate that he has been deeply impacted by this tragedy. Toews personally attended the funeral of Jacob Leicht today, something that must have been incredibly difficult for the Blackhawks captain.
Toews deserves a lot of praise for what he's done for people in need.