The tragic news of the recent Humboldt Broncos bus crash that left 16 people dead affected just about everyone in Canada and in many places around the world.
Young athletes, in particular, felt the staggering sorrow more strongly than most. They are far too familiar with the constant bus trips and hours punched on the road with teammates that become like family to them.
Jamie Penney patrolled the blue-line with the Western Kings of the provincial major midget hockey league from 2012-15, and even helped coach the team two seasons ago. His girlfriend, Taylor Ryan, played both volleyball and soccer.
“We know what it’s all about,” said Penney.
He said news of the accident just seemed to touch who they were as people and, because of that, they wanted to do something — anything — to help.
Coincidentally, a fundraiser they had both employed in the past when it was time for their own teams’ big bus trips was the solution — a bottle drive.
“It seemed like a good idea,” Penney said. “All I did was text a few of my buddies and it was pretty easy to pick up a ton of bottles.”
The venture, which clewed up over the weekend, ended up raising about $800 for the Humboldt Broncos GoFundMe page.
Penney is happy they were able to help in their own small way, though he knows only time will ever begin to heal the town of Humboldt.
“I just think of all my buddies who I travelled on buses with,” he said. “I couldn’t think anything like that would ever happen.”