Broncos' tribute concert shows families 'we're not in this alone,' says grieving father

A tribute concert on Friday night felt like the culmination of weeks of “wonderful gestures,” and offered the hope that maybe something good could come out of a tragic crash yet, said the father of one of the Humboldt Broncos’ victims.

Brad Cross, father of Mark Cross, calls tribute concert a culmination of weeks of love and support

Dallas Smith hits the Moncton Casino ballroom starting at 9 p.m. (Liam Richards/The Canadian Press)

A tribute concert on Friday night felt like the culmination of weeks of "wonderful gestures," and offered hope that maybe something good could come out of a tragic crash, said the father of one of the Humboldt Broncos' victims.

"If it takes the kids in Florida to stand up and say no more, it takes something like this up here, this tragedy, to make people back up and show a little love, and kindness to one another," said Brad Cross.

"I'm going to miss my son terribly, but maybe that's the purpose. If that's the purpose, I can accept that."

Cross' son, Mark, was the assistant coach for the team and one of 16 people that died in the April 6 team bus crash.

Families could be seen exchanging hugs and dancing during Friday night's tribute concert.

Cross said it was a "time-out" from the grief for those families and survivors.

The Hunter Brothers were among the performers that played the Country Thunder Humboldt Broncos tribute concert on Friday. (Liam Richards/The Canadian Press)

"It's been a wonderful opportunity to embrace our Bronco family, which just continues to get closer and closer, which is a wonderful feeling," said Cross. "We're not in this alone."

In the past few weeks since that tragedy, he said his family has been overwhelmed by the support of everyone across the country, and in their home community of Strasbourg, Sask.

Friday night's concert felt like the culmination of running on weeks of adrenaline, but Cross said he knew the challenges of grieving would loom large after the weekend.

However, he has been touched by the tributes to his son, which were as positive as he would have expected from knowing the man his son was.

"We knew the character of our son, now the world's going to know."

Brad Cross said he heard many positive tributes that came flooding in for his son Mark Cross, who died in the Humboldt Broncos' team bus crash. (CBC News)

'You could see the pain,' fellow father says

Scott Thomas, whose son Evan died in the crash, said attending the tribute concert showed him the empathy people felt for families and survivors.

"You could see the pain in their faces, you could see the respect that they have for what we're going through as parents, as hockey people," Thomas said.

"There's just a lot of emotion in the room."

Scott Thomas, father of Evan Thomas, who was killed in the April 6, 2018 Humboldt Broncos' bus crash, said he could feel the empathy of people attending a tribute concert on Friday night. (CBC)

Just over a week ago, Thomas held a memorial service at SaskTel Centre for his son in his hometown.

Thomas said his emotions hadn't changed much since the memorial service.

"It's still raw, absolutely raw," he said. "There's still a void there that will probably be there for the rest of my life. But I know once everybody gets in there, the feeling of love is going to be the same."

with files from The Canadian Press