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Donations grow for program supporting hockey community

By Daniel Jungwirth

September 24, 2018

While September indicates the fresh start of a new hockey season, the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash last April will leave a lasting impact that few will forget.

The SJHL Assistance Program was established immediately following the tragedy. It was born of the recognition that while immediate support to the Humboldt Broncos team members, family and community was important, so too was an anticipated need to support the mental health of players, families, coaches and volunteers across the league.

Co-op was among the first to make a donation to the new Program. The donation from Co-op – which includes Federated Co-operatives Limited, local Co-ops, their members and customers – has grown to more than $768,000.

“Through this difficult time, we’ve witnessed people come together and support one another,” said FCL CEO Scott Banda. “Co-op has always rallied to support our communities, which is why we partnered with the SJHL on a program that will help people heal across the league and eventually across the Junior A hockey community across Canada.”

The immediate concern for players, families, coaches and volunteers across the 12 teams of the league is what inspired the creation of the SJHL Assistance Program.

“Knowing the impact this tragedy would have over the long-term, we started the SJHL Assistance Program to ensure there were resources in place to support our hockey family,” said SJHL President Bill Chow.

As it seeks charitable status, the program is making progress in its support of mental health five months after its launch through partnerships with the Canadian Red Cross and Homewood Health.

Since being established, the SJHL Assistance Program has raised $1.4 million through corporate and individual donations. The donation from Co-op includes $191,000 from the sale of Humboldt Strong T-shirts at Co-op locations, with additional T-shirt sales of $70,000 through 22 Fresh and $20,000 at the Country Thunder benefit concert.

The SJHL Assistance Program aims to support healthy communities, ensuring everyone feels safe to get the help they need. To access support services, contact the Canadian Red Cross at sjhlsupport@redcross.ca or Homewood Health at 1-866-459-4805.