Mr. Speaker, ever since about five o'clock in the afternoon a week ago last Friday, hearts have been aching in Saskatchewan. Tears have been flowing. Shock and trauma have gripped an entire province. Prayers have been uttered by the faithful of every possible creed, as the cruel reality settled in that a terrible highway crash had devastated the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.
Twenty-nine souls were on the Broncos bus on that drive northeast to Nipawin to meet the Hawks in the SJHL playoff game on April 6. Twenty-three of them were great young hockey players aged 16 to 21. Two were coaches, plus the trainer, the statistician, the play-by-play broadcaster, and the bus driver. Sixteen lives were lost, including 10 players. For the other 13, their lives have been profoundly changed. They were young people, for the most part. They were fit, strong, smart, and talented, working hard to pursue their passion for hockey, living the dream. They were the pride of their families and their hometowns, the pride of the families with which they were billeted away from home, their teachers and mentors, and the Broncos organization, who tried so hard to look after them.
The pain hit hard in Humboldt and in nearby Saskatoon, in eight other Saskatchewan towns, in Winnipeg, and in eight communities across Alberta. However, the anguish knew no bounds. It swept the entire province and the country. After all, this is Canada. Despite the calendar, it is still mostly winter. Hockey playoffs are in full swing virtually everywhere, and hockey, in large measure, shapes our lives. There is hardly a family anywhere in Canada that would be unfamiliar with those buses, which take thousands of our kids somewhere almost every day to play hockey or some other sport they love.
Humboldt's pain is being felt by communities across Canada, where buses full of young people going to play hockey or practice another sport they love are a part of everyday life. This tragedy has hit all our communities hard.
This was a tragedy that really struck home. For most of us it was personal, hitting right where we live. It extended into the United States and Europe and rippled around the world from Uganda to Australia and back to the high Arctic. It engaged people like Drake, golf champion Brooke Henderson, Her Majesty the Queen, and thousands and maybe millions more.
Everyone wanted to connect and help with prayers and gestures of solidarity. We left our sticks out on the doorstep. We wore jerseys; we still are. There were editorials and heart-wrenching cartoons. Tons of people raised money and gave money. They played road hockey, pond hockey, floor hockey, and regular hockey. They started marathons. They sold stickers and badges. Some wrote songs and poems. Others sent flowers to vigils, memorials, and funerals, which are still ongoing. Thousands of people are attending to be together, to share and support. There are cards, letters, posters, banners, videos, and miles of green and yellow ribbons on virtually everyone's lapel. There are messages on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. From the smallest novice, atom, or peewee team to the top brass of the NHL, the entire hockey community worldwide brought awareness, compassion, and understanding about how big and how painful this situation was, and is.
The outpouring of interest and concern is likely unparalleled. It is a way to show that we care. It is basic human kindness. That, too, is what defines us. Everyone affected is thankful for that.
Together, we thank the first responders, RCMP officers, firefighters, and paramedics from Nipawin, Tisdale, Melfort, Zenon Park, and other places who were on the scene of that horrific crash, doing probably the hardest work of all. We thank the emergency medical teams in the local hospitals, the STARS air ambulance crews who flew the victims there, and the medical staff at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. We thank the trauma teams, the grief counsellors, and the victim services people, who continue to provide aid and comfort, and will for a long time. We thank the teachers, the school boards, and the community volunteers who work with young people especially to help them come to terms with what has happened.
We hold in our hearts all the bereaved and troubled families and friends of the victims, the city of Humboldt, and the entire Broncos organization.
To the injured and the suffering, Brayden, Bryce, Derek, Graysen, Jacob, Kaleb, Layne, Matthieu, Morgan, Nick, Ryan, Tyler, and Xavier, we pray for their healing and recovery, and for hope to replace despair.
For those we cannot see again, gone far too soon, we pledge always to remember their zest for life, their skill and talent, the joy they brought into the lives of so many others, and the potential they represented of the very best of Canada.
Rest in peace and abiding love, Tyler Bieber, from Humboldt; Logan Boulet, from Lethbridge; Dayna Brons, from Lake Lenore; Mark Cross, from Strasbourg; Glen Doerksen, from Carrot River; Darcy Haugan, from Humboldt; Adam Herold, from Montmartre; Brody Hinz, from Humboldt; Logan Hunter, from St. Albert; Jaxon Joseph, from Edmonton; Jacob Leicht, from Humboldt; Conner Lukan, from Slave Lake; Logan Schatz, from Allan; Evan Thomas, from Saskatoon; Parker Tobin, from Stony Plain; and Stephen Wack, from St. Albert. They will forever be heroes in our eyes and in our hearts. The goodness of their lives, and the kindness of so many people now sharing their loss, will help the grieving country find strength and rekindle hope.
I extend deep condolences from the government, the Parliament, and the people of Canada.