We are a nation bound by the game. With nearly 7 Million dollars raised for the community of Humboldt at the time of me writing this, not even a week after the tragic events that took the life of 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos from their loved ones, we are given a light that brightens that awful darkness.

Support. Care. Understanding. Love.

We all feel something special because of a emotional connection. It’s hard to explain…

I can’t speak for everyone, but it’s the haunting reality of the events that as a hockey player growing up in small town southern Alberta, happens to draw me into this mix. My youth was sprinkled with close calls on icey highways, narrow backroads and the ability to name towns like Gleichen, Stettler, Wetaskawin, Leduc, Indus… etc. I can only imagine the living nightmare that must be going on inside the minds of those affected directly by the loss of one of their own.

“Big League” is an anthem to cherish memories of the lives that were lost and give hope to those that are in recovery. This will take years if not a lifetime to heal, but the outreach of support from complete strangers just like you’d expect from family is truly amazing. It embodies the sense of the hockey community. Of being Canadian. Of being human.

For me, “Pricklies” is an anthem that already meant the world to me. (If you ask my mom and dad they’ll tell you that I sang the chorus to Tom Cochrane & Red Riders hit “Big League” mistaking the words for “play in the pricklies”. I was 8. I didn’t know any better. I just loved the song.) I just loved waking up Saturday morning to drive to places like Indus, Gleichen, Hussar, Beiseker you name it… there’s not a barn I haven’t seen in Alberta… but more than the game, I loved to have time with my dad on the road. Listening to his (generally) sound advice on my positional play and overall thoughts on the game as we cruised from places like High River and Hanna left me with memories ever etched in my mind and associated with Tom Cochrane and the freedom you had as a kid growing up playing hockey for your hometown.

What I have learned from this horrific event, is that no matter where you’re at in life… the ones you love will come around. They may be mad. They may not even speak to you. But you’re still “gonna play in the Big League”. Life is way too short and whatever they’re doing, whether you get it or not is to help you and support you. Even though I didn’t know any of the players or family personally, I feel like experiences through hockey are shared universally. Humboldt represents a community inseparable by the bond of love for the game. I want to lend my hands and my heart to support the community of Humboldt in any way I can.

I don’t have much money to give, but I would be honoured to give my time and capture the stories of each Bronco involved in the crash to let the rest of the world know what the number on the back meant to the Bronco on the front. In due time I will see if this is something the community would like from an anonymous voice. It’s about Humboldt.

We are all in this one together. The hockey community, what it means to be Canadian and it goes to show how important life really is. Hug you kids, hug your parents, hug your brothers and sisters. Keep your stick on the ice and drive to hard to the net – you never know what will happen when you just put the puck on net. Make things happen.

Thank you for listening. Keep a stick out for Humboldt.

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Have you ever wanted just to numb the pain away?

But a car is spinning tires just outside Blush Lane

They ask for help, you – “of course!”, there is no other way

Their smiles make it hard, at least not today

Have you ever just wanted to grow up and blow away?

Up in the clouds where you’re dreaming almost every single day…

With blinders on you’ll never see or taste or hear them say,

Thanks for stopping to lend a hand so I can get up on my way

I just want to feel loved

Iwant to feel comfortable inside my skin

I want to feel loved (ahwoo!)

Gotta feel it from within

So now it all seems trivial, the things that I could say

Nostalgia of my childhood dreams, for them – just ripped away

Maybe when the time is right, we’ll drop the puck and play,

And kiss and hug and sing and dance as if we’re gone today

I just want to feel loved

I want to feel comfortable inside my skin

I want to feel loved (ahwoo!)

Gotta feel it from within