Program launched to help Saskatchewan junior hockey players affected by bus tragedy
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has announced a new support program aimed at providing mental health support to grieving players across its 10 teams.
“The Humboldt Broncos tragedy has shown that the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League players, coaches and volunteers are more than a league, they’re family,” said SJHL president Bill Chow at a press conference Tuesday.
Chow said that the new Player Assistance Program is being created in recognition that the healing process could take “six months or six years.”
“It’s about building something for the future … To make sure everybody here is taken care of moving forward,” Chow said.
The program has been seeded by a $150,000 donation from Co-op stores in Western Canada, which the Federated Co-operatives Limited has said it will match. FCL says it will match donations up to $500,000.
“Like so many Canadians, this past weekend, we’ve been looking for any way we can find to help the many players, coaches, billets (and) families, who are all dealing with the physical and emotional devastation caused by the accident,” said FCL CEO Scott Banda.
The public is being asked to support the program by purchasing T-shirts that say “Humboldt Strong,” which will be available at Co-op stores in Western Canada and online from Regina-based 22Fresh Apparel.
Chow clarified that the program is separate from a GoFundMe campaign started by Sylvie Kellington, which has raised more than $5.5 million for those directly affected by last week’s crash.
More details about the assistance program are available online.