Residents of Blackfalds and surrounding areas gathered at the town’s Multiplex Friday night to pay tribute to those killed, hurt and bereaved by the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
At least 100 youth were wearing the uniforms of their community group, from sports, dance, girl guides to scouts. As has been the custom at hockey games since the tragedy, they formed a circle around the centre of the arena. Others more sat in the stands.
“Honour them with your courage and determination to win for them, and your team, and for all of us who will cheer you on. That’s how you survive this tragedy. That’s how you become Humboldt strong,” said Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr, one of nine speakers during the ceremony.
Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole said the gathering was an act of solidarity for the grieving community.
“We join to send our prayers and hopes. In communities across the nation, families are, or have been meeting to send a message,” Poole said. “To the families who have lost loved ones, the injured who are recovering physically or emotionally, we understand your experience cannot be rationalized but we pray our support will help.”
The service continued with reading the names of the 16 killed and a moment of silence.
The town will have a book of condolences placed at the civic centre entrance for residents to sign until Friday. As well, it is also making a $500 donation to the Humboldt and District Hospital Foundation, which before the fatal crash occurred, had a fundraiser planned for the second week of April.
Town flags will be at half-mast until April 25.