The Vancouver Canucks posted this image to their Twitter page as part of the #putyoursticksout campaign in support of the Humboldt Broncos. (@Canucks/Twitter)

Vigil to support Humboldt Broncos on Thursday

Gather at the Shawnigan Hills lacrosse box at 6 p.m.

A vigil for the Humboldt Broncos is planned for this Thursday evening at the Shawnigan Hills sports fields.

The junior A hockey team from Saskatchewan was involved in a tragic bus crash last Friday, which killed 10 players, two coaches, a radio broadcaster, a statistician and the bus driver.

Shawnigan Lake resident Miranda Froese wanted the town of Humboldt and the Broncos know that her community stands behind them.

“As soon as I heard, I wanted to help,” she said. “I wanted to be there to support another community. I know how caring and giving Shawnigan is as a community. I’ve lived here four years, and seen nothing but generosity.”

Froese’s grandfather, father, brother, and cousins all played hockey, and she has volunteered as a timekeeper and anthem singer, so she feels a connection to the sport.

“I’ve always been in arenas,” she said. “I’ve always been involved with hockey. It’s always been in my life in one way or another.”

As soon as she stepped up with the idea for the vigil, Froese was approached by several people who she had never met but who wanted to help. Among them was Donna Lymer, who has her own connections to the Humboldt tragedy.

Lymer’s youngest son, Shaun, played briefly under head coach Darcy Haugan with the junior B North Peace Navigators in Peace River, Alta., although she never had the chance to meet him.

“I do know he’s a nice guy,” Lymer said. “He can be hard on his players, but it’s for a reason. I never remember hearing bad words from my son about Darcy.”

Lymer also billets players from the junior B Kerry Park Islanders, including Edmonton native Cordell Boyko, who knew several of the players on the Broncos who had played in Alberta.

“He knew some of these kids,” Lymer said. “He said he’ll be going to a few funerals.”

Billet players “become part of the family,” said Lymer, who feels for the parents and billet families of the players who died last Friday, and the survivors as well. As a hockey parent, she put her kids on buses many times without a second thought.

“You don’t think these things are going to happen,” she said.

The vigil will take place at the Shawnigan Hills lacrosse box (2162 Hurley Rd.) at 6 p.m. on Thursday. Donations to the Broncos and their families will be accepted.

“As a Canadian, hockey keeps us united,” Froese said. “I wanted to make an effort to show other people that we’re all here for each other.”

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