It was one week ago Humboldt, the province of Saskatchewan and the country was shaken by the tragic bus accident that killed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos Junior Hockey team. Seven days has passed but the scars of that tragedy are very fresh, for everyone.
The heartbreak continued last weekend, when it was announced that former Cougars Captain Brock Hirsche passed away Sunday after his brave fight with testicular cancer; he was just 26.
With those two heartbreaking events on everyone’s mind, the community of Prince George came together Thursday to show their support for both Humboldt and the Hirsche family. Hundreds turned out to the CN Centre for a rally and group photo on the ice.
Cougars Vice President- Business, Andy Beesley says the community spirit of Prince George is something special, “It was extremely heartwarming to see the large number of PG residents who took time to come for this photo. At first we were unsure how many people would show up, but I wasn’t the least surprised to see the big crowd, as Prince George is known for being a generous, friendly and caring City.”
The bus accident hit close to home for so many, including many families in Prince George, who’ve sent their kids on countless of long bus trips to hockey games or tournaments.
Brock Hirsche, played four seasons with the Cougars, playing in 161 career regular season games before his 20-year-old season was cut short due to injury. From 2009 to 2013, Hirsche called Prince George home during the hockey season, and was a captain in his final season with the Cats. Hirsche was known as a heart-and-soul guy on the ice and a leader in the dressing room. His character transcended the game, as he was also spent countless hours volunteering in the community.
“It was very emotional to see so many like-minded people, everyone with their own personal stories and connections to this tragedy, both the bus crash and the loss of Brock Hirsche,” said Beesley.
The Cougars had two banners out at the CN Centre for the public to sign, one for the community of Humboldt and the other for the Hirsche family. The Hirsche banner is being delivered to Brock’s family in Lethbridge, Alberta this weekend, ahead of his funeral on April 13th. The Humboldt banner will be sent to the Mayor’s office in the coming days.
“Everyone was so anxious to show how much they care, and how much they wanted to reach out to the City of Humboldt and Brock’s family. I think the banners and the picture’s we will deliver will have great impact and meaning, and that Prince George residents can feel proud that their support will be felt loudly and clearly.”
There is a gofundme page set up for the Humboldt Broncos and you can donate by CLICKING HERE. The response has been staggering, as they’ve smashed their original fundraising goal, as the page is now well over 10 million dollars and it’s still climbing.
The University of Lethbridge men’s hockey team, where Hirsche played for three seasons, worked with Brock prior to his passing, to establish a scholarship fund in his name which to date has raised more than $30,000. They also created the Brock Hirsche Pronghorn Hockey Award and donations to that award can be made by CLICKING HERE.