Parents, family, friends and loved ones of the four St. Albert boys who died in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash were moved to tears after an emotional opening ceremony kicked off a three-day long memorial tournament in St. Albert over the weekend.
One of the tournament organizers, Connor Tupala said that the event is just one of the many ways their friends will keep the memories of the fallen hockey players alive.
“I think what people are most scared of when a loved one dies is that they will be forgotten. What we want the families to know is that we will never let that happen. We will keep the boys with us always – on the ice, out having beers, in our day-to-day-lives – your boys will be with us,” Tupala said to the parents of his four friends who died on April 6.
Families and friends of the four St. Albert boys who passed away in the Humboldt bus crash came together over the weekend at the Mark Messier Arena to pack the stands and remember their loved ones and heal together as a hockey community.
The families of the four victims attended the tournament and Chris Joseph, father of Jaxon Joseph, thanked the organizers for helping to lift them up during such a difficult time and expressed how proud he is of the boys playing in the tournament.
Joseph said that one of the greatest joys in playing sports is being part of a team and that teammates are always there to pick you up when you are feeling low or to knock you down a few pegs if you get too high.
“We have all been knocked down and you guys are doing a wonderful job of picking us up and for that we thank you and we are so extremely proud of all of you,” Joseph said in the opening ceremonies to the players and packed stands on Friday night.
Shauna Nordstrom, the mother of Logan Hunter, also thanked organizers for bringing together the boys’ friends and families in one place.
“I am so proud of these young men. They give us great hope for the future. But today is about the moment. Logan lived that way – moment to moment. So let’s have some fun, laughs, playing the great game of hockey. Let’s make memories,” Nordstrom said.
The mother also thanked the community for their support over the three months that have passed since the crash. The mother said that arriving home from Saskatoon was a blur but said she remembers yellow and green ribbons and hockey sticks on doorsteps throughout the community.
Robin Lukan, Conner Lukan’s mother, thanked the community of St. Albert for their show of support in the community and wished all the boys playing in the tournament a great weekend.
Two surviving Broncos players, Derek Patter and Tyler Smith, kicked the tournament off with a ceremonial puck drop and the four teams, named after the four Broncos players, competed Friday, Saturday and Sunday.