Brother of injured Humboldt Broncos player organizing charity hockey tournament in Swift Current, Sask.
Ryan Gobeil grateful for support his family received after Humboldt Broncos bus crash
Ryan Gobeil is so grateful for the help and support his family received in the aftermath of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash that he's organizing a charity hockey tournament in Swift Current, Sask., as a way to give back.
It's something that we could do to give back to those who gave a lot to us.- Ryan Gobeil
"The bus crash was devastating to our family and friends and the tournament is to help raise money for the organizations that have helped us so much over the time," Gobeil says.
"It's something that we could do to give back to those who gave a lot to us."
Gobeil's younger brother Morgan, a defenceman with the Humboldt Broncos, was one of 13 people injured on April 6 when their team bus and a semi-trailer collided in rural Saskatchewan. Sixteen others who were on the bus died.
Morgan is recovering from his injuries at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon. As of April 25, five survivors remained in hospital in Saskatoon, none in critical condition.
Days after the crash, Ryan Gobeil and three others got an image of Morgan's heartbeat tattooed on their arms. A photo posted on social media went viral.
"The support has been really awesome," said Ryan Gobeil.
"I've even had a lot of people reach out to ask if there's anything they can [do to] help with the hockey tournament. I had a woman from Winnipeg send us a donation of $250. It's so widespread that it's almost overwhelming sometimes."
Tournament for players, fans
He is still looking for a few more teams and individuals to sign up for the four-on-four Hockey for Humboldt tournament, being held May 11-13 at the Credit Union iPlex in Swift Current.
There's a wide range of hockey skills represented — from current and former Western Hockey League and Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League players, to recreational players who had to buy equipment for the occasion.
There is no defined entry fee, just a minimum $1,500 per team donation.
Gobeil promises great hockey but says the tournament is not just for players — it's for hockey fans, too.
They'll be able to watch the Swift Current Broncos take on the Everett Silvertips in Game 5 of the Western Hockey League finals, should a fifth game be required in the best-of-seven series. The game is scheduled to be streamed in the tournament's beer garden on May 11.
There will be a progressive 50-50 draw and silent auction prizes including signed jerseys from Swift Current Broncos alumni Adam Lowry (who now plays with the Winnipeg Jets) and Zack Smith (now with the Ottawa Senators).
"I'd like to give a big shout-out to the City of Swift Current, who have rented us the ice and the curling club for a social area at a rate we can afford. Without this ice time and their facilities, raising the money wouldn't be possible," Gobeil says.
Supports Humboldt Strong Foundation
All the money will be donated to the Humboldt Strong Foundation, which supports groups including STARS Air Ambulance, Ronald McDonald House and the Royal University Hospital Foundation.
"I can write a $10,000 cheque to somebody after this tournament but at the end of the day, that's the only $10,000 they're going to get. Going through the Humboldt Strong Foundation enabled me to donate my money to somebody who's going to use this money for years to come," Gobeil says.
While he wasn't able to attend the country music fundraising concert on April 27 in Saskatoon, Gobeil says it was a good time for families to come together and support each other.
Gobeil also has a message for everyone who has reached out in the weeks since the tragic crash that changed so many lives.
"Thank you for everything, for the kind wishes, the prayers and everything. It means a lot and it definitely helps us get through it as someone who's directly affected by it."