Local hockey community puts #SticksOutForHumboldt
GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- On the front porches, they sit. Sticks out for the boys. Sticks out for Humboldt.
"In case the departed needed a hockey stick where'ever they may be, we got one for them," De Pere Voyageurs head coach John Coppo said. "Wherever they can play."
Northeast Wisconsin, like the entire hockey world, is in a state of mourning after a traffic accident in Saskatchewan, Canada took the lives of 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team.
"You never want to think about it and it's one of those things that rocked the hockey community," Green Bay Gamblers head coach Pat Mikesch said.
The tragedy hits close to home for many in this region at both the college and junior level.
"We've had 26 different players on our roster, that have traveled those roads in Saskatchewan," St. Norbert head coach Tim Coghlin said. "Played in those junior leagues. It's a horrific loss."
"It's kind of eye-opening for everyone. We've all been on that bus, some of us longer than others," Gamblers forward Matt Jennings said. "We know how important it is, the bond and memories that are made."
What started as a simple Twitter invitation by two Humboldt natives has turned into a small way of healing. A showing of strength for a hockey town that needs it now more than ever.
"It shows respect for the community," Voyageurs player Casey Coppo said. "It's awesome to see all the other people do it around too. Just to see how much they really care."
"The sticks out campaign just grew so quickly yesterday and my kids brought it to my attention," Mikesch said. "We had our five sticks out for our five family members yesterday and I see it everywhere in my neighborhood, other people have their sticks out. It's a great little tribute going on right now and we talk about our hockey community being so tight and it is. Saskatchewan is a long ways away but hockey seems like you're well connected all the time."
More than 1,500 miles away from this story, the city of Humboldt is left to pick up the pieces. However, these hockey sticks prove they're far from alone.
"You look at their GoFundMe page and how many people support that and how much money they've raised and it shows you how close-knit the hockey family is," Jennings said.
Meanwhile, the Jerseys for Humboldt campaign has also taken root. The Green Bay Police Dept. took part Thursday, with department employees wearing hockey jerseys to support the team.
To find out how you can donate to the families of the Humboldt Broncos during this difficult time, visit this GoFundMe page.