'I just had to write it': Ontario musician pens Humboldt Broncos tribute

Kingston, Ont., musician Jay Smith couldn't sleep — his mind was haunted by the story of a Saskatchewan junior hockey team and a deadly crash on a cold Prairie highway. So he wrote a song about it.

Jay Smith posted his heartfelt response to the deadly crash involving the team on social media

Jay Smith wrote his tribute song to the Broncos one sleepless night in less than an hour. (Smitty Kingston/Facebook )

On Wednesday, Dayna Brons died, bringing the death toll to 16. Read the latest here.

Kingston, Ont., musician Jay Smith couldn't sleep — his mind was haunted by the story of a Saskatchewan junior hockey team and a deadly crash on a cold Prairie highway.

It just kind of hits home real big.- Jay Smith

So Smith, a.k.a. Smitty Kingston, picked up his guitar, and exorcized the demons in the best way he knew — by writing a song in tribute to the Humboldt Broncos.

"I kind of just tagged it as 'Humboldt strong, and leave a stick out by the door.'"

He's now posted that song to social media, in tribute to the Humboldt Broncos.

Fifteen people died and 14 were injured after the bus taking the team to a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoff game collided with a transport truck on a highway north of Tisdale, Sask., last Friday evening.

Canadian, father, player

The song comes in the intimate, hushed tones of a man who can't sleep but is trying to work out his grief without waking the rest of the household up.

"As a Canadian, as a father, as a person who grew up around hockey, I just had to write it and get it out of my head," Smith said.

Smith had a visceral reaction to the tragedy unfolding in Saskatchewan, in part because he played many years of competitive hockey and spent hours on the bus with his own teammates.

"[I've] travelled on the bus with my teammates and friends and done all of the same things and yes, it just kind of hits home real big."

By early Tuesday afternoon, the Facebook post had been shared more than 11,000 times, and had more than 1,000 comments.

Smith said that he's surprised by how far the song has travelled and suggested that if it helps even one person find some solace, then his goal in writing it has been accomplished.

A Humboldt Broncos team jersey is seen among notes and flowers at a memorial for the Humboldt Broncos team leading into the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt on Saturday. (Matt Smith/Reuters)

With files from The Afternoon Edition