CONCEPTION BAY NORTH, NL — There were plenty of lights glowing for the Humboldt Broncos April 12 in Bay Roberts and Harbour Grace, as people gathered to reflect on a tragic collision that claimed 16 lives.
Emotions were high at both the Bay Arena and the Danny Cleary Harbour Grace Community Centre, where hundreds paid their respects. In Bay Roberts, relatives of one of the victims, Broncos goaltender Parker Tobin, were present.
Parker was initially thought to be alive and recovering in a Saskatchewan hospital following the crash, but it was later determined that through an error by the province’s coroner’s office, he had been misidentified.
Glenn Littlejohn, a long-time friend of Parker’s father, Bay Roberts native Ed Tobin, spoke on behalf of the family in Bay Roberts.
“They’re overwhelmed,” he said of the Tobin family. “I spoke to (Ed) last night, and he knows this is occurring here in the community tonight, and he wanted to say thank you from the bottom of their hearts for your support. They feel your support, they thank you for your prayers, and they know how important this is to them. And they also wanted to say that emotionally, it’s events like this that help them get through the tough days that are now upon them.”
In Bay Roberts and Harbour Grace, players from every division of the local minor hockey associations joined together on the ice to honour the lives lost in Saskatchewan
The names of all 16 victims were read in both arenas.
Bay Roberts Deputy Mayor Walter Yetman says people taking time to show support for the people back in Saskatchewan is important, helps those hurting. Also offers sympathies to family of Parker Tobin of #humboldtbroncos. pic.twitter.com/1vTStsevwp— Andrew Robinson (@CBNAndrew) April 12, 2018
Colby Drover and Matthew Butt, two players from the CeeBees association, have both been in hockey for several years and were among those who stood on the ice in Harbour Grace Thursday night. Both of them said they feel a personal connection as members of the minor hockey community, especially after experiencing the loss of a teammate themselves.
“A few years ago, a friend of ours – Brandon Harris – passed away after being in a car accident,” Drover explained. “So, as a team, I think we have a bit of a connection with these guys in Saskatchewan. We know what they’re going through, in a way. We know how hard it is.”
“Being a part of a hockey team is more than just the people you play with – you’re a family, one big family, you know?” Butt chimed in. “This is us showing our support for everyone up there, in the best way that we can. On the ice, where we all love to be.”
To end off the night, stadium lights were dimmed in Bay Roberts and Harbour Grace, and players on the ice, as well as spectators in the stands, activated small lights, creating a warm glow to show support for the Humboldt Broncos as a community.
“I didn’t come here tonight to speak as mayor of Harbour Grace, I came here to speak as a father, to all the parents out there.” said Mayor Don Coombs. “I know a lot of us don’t think this kind of thing could happen to us, but it could. I want everyone to go home and hug your kids tonight. Tell them you love them. I know that’s what I’ll be doing.”