British Columbia

Coquitlam hockey association holds vigil for Humboldt Broncos victims

Members of the public filled the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex for a vigil honouring the lives lost in the devastating Saskatchewan bus crash.

Members of public filled arena for event honouring injured, lives lost in devastating crash

Everyone in attendance was encouraged to wear a jersey. (CBC)

The Coquitlam Minor Hockey Association held a public vigil Thursday night for victims of the Humboldt bus crash.

Hundreds filled the Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex, many of them wearing jerseys.

The event began with a sombre procession, then speeches and a moment of silence.

One by one, young athletes placed flowers and candles for the victims, including a candle for the truck driver in the crash and his family.

Children were also able to send condolences to members of the Humboldt community.

A makeshift memorial made out of two hockey sticks. (CBC)

Entry for the event was by donation, with proceeds benefiting the community and those affected by the tragedy. 

The event also featured a desk where people could sign up to become organ donors. 

Organizer Valerie Murdocco said it was "unbelievable" to see how people banded together for the event.

"The hockey community is a very close knit community and when we heard about this tragic event in Humboldt, we really wanted to do something. The emotions were there and we were just really feeling for the families," Murdocco said.

Former Canucks player Darcy Rota represented the Vancouver Canucks at the vigil.

"I played junior hockey and took many bus trips through the prairies when I played in Edmonton. It's such an unthinkable thing to happen. I wanted to be here to support, being a Coquitlam resident,"  Rota said.

Humboldt Strong stickers were handed out. (CBC)

Sixteen lives were lost in the April 6 crash, when the Humboldt Broncos team bus collided with a semi transport trailer.

In a country where hockey is woven into the cultural fabric, Murdocco says the nationwide outpouring of support is no surprise.

"Canadians have the biggest hearts," she said. "We see someone in need and we rally to help them."

Proceeds from the event will benefit people affected by the tragedy. (CBC)