The Humboldt Broncos’ tragedy has shown that the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League players, coaches and volunteers are more than a league—they’re family.
When the unthinkable happens, as it did on Friday afternoon, the entire league feels its impact. In recognition of these effects on this hockey family, today the SJHL is establishing the SJHL Assistance Program.
The SJHL Assistance Program will raise funds for all people, both within the Humboldt Broncos organization and in the other 10 SJHL teams, who are directly and deeply affected by this awful event.
“The SJHL is overwhelmed with the support for the SJHL Assistance Program. This program will aid in providing mental health assistance, counselling and grieving for all the players of the SJHL,” said SJHL President Bill Chow. “Should there be funds available, the extra monies will go into an education program in memory of the lives lost on April 6, 2018.”
To get the program started, 44 local Co-ops that are part of the Co-operative Retailing System in Saskatchewan and across Western Canada have already committed $135,000 to support the Assistance Program. Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) has matched these retail donations, for a total of $270,000 to date. Work continues to secure commitments from more retail Co-ops, and FCL will continue to match them up to a potential total of $500,000.
“Like so many Canadians, we’re looking for any way we can to help the many people in the Broncos organization, and throughout the league, and indeed across Western Canada, who are grappling with the physical and emotional devastation caused by this accident,” said FCL CEO Scott Banda. “I hope that our contributions today are only the start and that they’ll encourage other businesses and organizations to donate to the SJHL Assistance Program as it supports players and their families in the coming months.”
The SJHL also announced a joint effort with its official clothing supplier 22 Fresh to soon sell #HumboldtStrong t-shirts at Co-ops (and online through 22 Fresh), with proceeds going to the SJHL Assistance Program. Details on when the t-shirts will be available in stores will be provided as soon as possible. Updates on this initiative will be shared through SJHL.ca, on FCL.CRS and through various Co-op social media sites.
“Retail Co-ops are deeply rooted in their communities, including those that host SJHL teams,” said Lake Country Co-op CEO Dean McKim. “We understand the importance of family and community because that’s where Co-ops come from. And we’re committed to sustaining those communities. That’s why we immediately committed funds for this SJHL Program, and look forward to working together to support the long healing process ahead.”