When we hear of a tragedy like the bus accident that took the lives of 15 Canadian hockey players last Friday, the first instinct for many of us is to help in some small way.
Few of us have ever been to Humboldt, Saskatchewan, or will ever go there. But the unbearable loss in a small prairie town is something we all feel. It could be any town in Canada, or any town in America.
One way that many have helped is by giving money for the bereaved families. A hockey mom in Saskatchewan set up a GoFundMe that has already raised more than $6 million. The donations have come in constantly over the weekend: $10, $25, $100.
Then there are the more symbolic shows of support, like one shared by a Winnipeg broadcaster and Humboldt native named Brian Munz. He received a text from a friend who decided he would leave a hockey stick outside his house because “The boys might need it … wherever they are.”
Got this text from a friend who I went to high school with in Humboldt.
— Brian Munz (@BrianMunzTSN) April 9, 2018
The tribute caught on in Canada and quickly spread.
Former NHLer Jarret Stoll and wife Erin Andrews put out a stick.
— Erin Andrews (@ErinAndrews) April 9, 2018
The Mounties from British Columbia put out a stick.
— Surrey RCMP (@SurreyRCMP) April 9, 2018
So did the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa.
— U.S. Embassy Ottawa (@usembassyottawa) April 9, 2018
One group of fourth graders in Ontario drew sticks and pasted them to the outside of their classroom door.
We wanted to show our support to the Humboldt community. We are thinking of those who lost their lives, who lost loved ones, and those who are experiencing pain because of this horrible accident. Our class is putting out our sticks in support of #HumboldtStrong #putyoursticksout pic.twitter.com/8VpTPKQsor
— Mr. Repa's Classroom (@MrRepa_teacher) April 9, 2018
It’s an easy, simple gesture, but it’s powerful. The days in Humboldt will be long, but the nights will be longer. Sleep will not come easy to anyone in Saskatchewan for a while. Still, in the middle of the night, perhaps it will bring some amount of comfort to know there are porch lights on and sticks out all over the world, for Humboldt, and for the boys.
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