The Lloydminster and District Co-op has contributed $10,000 to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Assistance Program that provides support for anyone affected by those who were killed or injured when the Humboldt Broncos’s team bus collided with a transport truck on April 6. The Co-op also showed their support by placing a set of hockey sticks outside their administration office on Friday, one week after the tragedy occurred. GEOFF LEE LLS PHOTO
Lloydminster and District Co-op is helping to heal all those affected in the aftermath of the Humboldt Broncos’ team bus crash that claimed the lives of 16 people and injured many more.
The Co-op has committed $10,000 toward the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Assistance Program set up after the crash on April 6, to provide mental health assistance and grief counselling for all the people within the Broncos’ organization and in the other 10 SJHL teams.
The fundraising initiated by Federated Co-operatives Ltd. (FCL) had nearly topped $400,000 by last Friday by matching contributions from more than 60 Co-ops across Western Canada taking part, including the Lloyd Co-op.
“This tragedy has touched so many people certainly in the community of Humboldt, throughout the province of Saskatchewan, right across Western Canada, and as we see, it’s much more global in reach as well,” said Lloyd Co-op CEO Don Stephenson at the company’s main office on Friday.
Stephenson was at the FCL office in Saskatoon the day of the crash when the fund got off the ground.
“When news of the tragedy broke, it gave us an opportunity to come together as a group and say ‘what can we do in the interim,’” said Stephenson.
“It was in discussions with the SJHL and at that time the development of an SJHL Assistance Program to not just help families and players, but to help the broader community in terms of grief counselling and mental health counselling.”
Stephenson said the Co-op’s support for the Broncos and all those affected by the accident goes way beyond the fact hockey is Canada’s game.
“We put kids on buses for summer games activities, for school trips—it does have a wide reach for sure,” he said.
Stephenson said it is part of the Co-op’s responsibility as a locally-owned organization to work alongside fellow cooperatives to make a positive impact in the places where their employees live, do business, and raise their families.
“When FCL shared the program with us, we did not hesitate to show our support,” he added.
“Like so many Canadians, we’re looking for any way we can to help the many people in the Broncos’ organization, and throughout the league, and indeed across Western Canada, who are grappling with the physical and emotional devastation caused by this accident,” said FCL CEO Scott Banda in a release earlier last week.
Stephenson said the funding program for the SJHL has no timelines.
“This isn’t going to be cured in a week or a month and the pain that’s being felt today will certainly resonate for a lot of years,” he said.
“I would encourage businesses and I would encourage individuals that have the wherewithal or have the means to contribute financially to help support to do so,” he said.
“In the same vein those that can’t, I certainly would hope that importantly, that they send their thoughts and their prayers.”
The Co-op also placed some hockey sticks outside the office in solidarity with other Canadians placing hockey sticks outside their front doors in recognition of the team members who lost their lives or were injured in the crash.