National Hockey League rinks are spending the final Saturday of the regular season honouring the Humboldt Broncos, and paying respect to the victims and families affected by the horrific crash that claimed 15 lives Friday evening in northeastern Saskatchewan.
It was a particularly special scene in Winnipeg. The Jets and Blackhawks stood alternately at the centre-ice circle for a moment of silence and the national anthems, each team with their individual nameplates replaced by “BRONCOS” to demonstrate unity and support.
“In hockey, we have learned that you don’t play for the name on the back of the jersey, you play for the crest on the front,” the PA announcer at Bell MTS Place explained.
“Tonight, the Winnipeg Jets and the Chicago Blackhawks, together with the National Hockey League, are playing this game for the names on the back of our jersey: the Humboldt Broncos.”
Tonight we play for the name on our back.
— #PrayersForHumboldt (@NHLJets) April 7, 2018
The name was worn proudly, we’re sure, by players that logged many miles in buses and across similar roads on their paths to the NHL.
Proceeds from the 50/50 draw in Winnipeg will be donated to victims and families of the Humboldt Broncos.
The Edmonton Oilers are planning a similar donation, while many other teams have pledged to the fundraising effort as well.
In Toronto, the Maple Leafs and Canadiens took part in a moment of silence as well.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) April 7, 2018
Meanwhile in Nashville, the Predators and Blue Jackets stood for “O, Canada” as a gesture to their grieving neighbours to the north.
— Jeremy K. Gover (@govertime) April 8, 2018
And Vegas is wearing special helmet decals to honour the victims:
— y – Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) April 8, 2018
Well done to all.