A local store which specializes in selling hockey-related gear is offering people a way to contribute to a fund set up to assist those affected by the devastating bus crashed in Saskatchewan that killed 15 people, 11 of them Humbolt Broncos junior hockey players.
A hockey stick has been taped to the inside of the front window of Hockey Shop Source for Sports on Carden Street, a sign of respect to those who died.
Todd Gumbley, the store’s owner, said the gesture is meant to reflect #SticksOutForHumbolt — a Canada-wide phenomenon of people leaving their hockey sticks outside their front doors.
“We wanted to do our part by taping one to the window. Everybody is bonding together and showing their respect by doing that,” said Gumbley.
The store will collect the proceeds of its skate sharpening services provided until end of day Saturday and donate them to a GoFundMe campaign, which has already collected more than $6 million for the families of the victims.
“We wanted to do something, but what do you do? We thought the collection of all of our sharpening proceeds over the week would be better than us personally writing a cheque for $100 or something,” said Gumbley.
Some people told Gumbley they wanted to contribute, but didn’t have skates to sharpen or they couldn’t contribute directly to the online GoFundMe, so he set up a hockey helmet at the register to take further donations.
“If that happened here you would certainly want to see the same kind of outreach they are getting,” said Gumbley.
One customer was waiting at the front door with a pair of figure skates when Gumbley opened the shop Wednesday morning.
The woman paid for the sharpening and left a $50 bill in the donation helmet.
“She didn’t really need to get her skates sharpened, she just came to show her support,” said Gumbley.
Between the helmet and skate sharpening services, Gumbley hopes to be able to contribute $1,000 to the GoFundMe.
“Honestly, I think that will be attainable,” he said.
The hockey community is a tight-knit one, said Gumbley.
“I’m not sure if every sport is like that. I think hockey is unique in the respect and friendships you develop. I think everybody who has played hockey at a high level can relate to those bus trips and the friendships,” said Gumbley.
“People you go to high school with — there’s a select few you stay in contact with, but the friends you made through sports you seem to share more of a lifelong bond with.”