Northwestern Ontario is honouring the Humboldt Broncos. Across Canada, people are wearing sports jerseys in support of the Junior A hockey team.

“You don’t even know how to put it in words,” said Head Coach of the Dryden GM Ice Dogs, Kurt Walsten. “You’re still shocked about everything that happened. It could have happened to any team across Canada. They did nothing wrong. It’s affecting everyone, from junior players across Canada, parents, it’s horrible. It really hits home. It doesn’t matter who you are.”

Defenceman for the Broncos, Xavier Labelle, is the brother of goaltender Isaac Labelle, who used to play for the Dryden GM Ice Dogs. Labelle is injured, but alive. He was one of the two players who were misidentified by a Saskatchewan coroner.

Walsten noted that when the Ice Dogs played the Fort Frances Lakers over the weekend in their semi-final series, President Mike Sveinson spoke to the crowd, both teams went to centre ice and had a moment of silence, sporting Humboldt Strong stickers on their helmets. Fans also wore green and yellow to the game, the team colours of the Broncos.

Walsten added that the Ice Dogs will be hanging a Humboldt Strong banner in the Dryden Memorial Arena. Residents have also been leaving hockey sticks outside of their homes to honour the players and staff who lost their lives.

The GoFundMe campaign for the players and families affected by the tragedy, which has led to 16 fatalities, has reached over $9.4 million. GoFundMe has waived their usual 5 per cent fee on the campaign.