Shubenacadie family showing support for Broncos

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The Julian’s create tribute, complete with banner they will send to Humboldt, Sk.

SHUBENACADIE: Imagine you’re a parent or family member and you’ve just said bye to your son or daughter as they board the bus with their sports team off to a road game or tournament. No one is thinking that the unfathomable will happen.

Unfortunately, that is what happened for the Humboldt Broncos, a Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team who’s bus collided with a transport truck. The Broncos were on their way to game 5 in their SJHL playoff series with Nipawin on April 6 when the fatal crash occurred.

VIDEO: The Julian’s explain why they created the tribute

The Julian family of Shubenacadie—Michael, mom Lea-Ann, and dad Keith—stand by their tribute they created in honour of those who died in the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan. The tribute includes a banner people can sign which will be sent to the Humboldt Broncos at a later date. It is made up of two hockey sticks placed in the shape of a cross, a hockey net, and at the bottom of the hockey stick cross are 15 hockey pucks. The family added a 16th hockey puck after news the Broncos trainer passed away due to her injuries on April 11. (Healey photo)

The collision killed 15 of the team members, including 10 players. A 16th person, the teams female trainer/equipment manager, succumbed to her injuries on April 11. Thirteen others were sent to hospital.

In the hours and days that have followed, the hockey community across Canada, and North America, has come together to step up for the small-town community and the Broncos killed and injured during this difficult time.

And one Shubenacadie family is pitching in to do their part—even if they are 4,135 kilometres apart.

Lea-Ann Julian, husband Keith, and son Michael are hockey fans. Michael is an assistant captain with his East Hants Peewee B hockey team. They were touched by the tragedy changing the lives of so many in a split second, so the family created a tribute in the front yard of their home.

“We just want them to know they’re not alone and that all of North America is reaching out to them,” said Lea-Ann at supper time on April 11. “We’re far away, but we’re close at heart.”

She said the bus crash puts things into perspective.

“We’re hockey parents. There’s nobody in Canada I don’t think that hockey isn’t directly or indirectly related to them,” she said. “It’s like the Maple Leaf. If you’re from Canada you know what the Maple Leaf is. If you’re from Canada you know what hockey is.”

Lea-Ann had a message for the families of those killed in the crash and those who have loved ones that survived the tragedy.

“We feel really awful for them, that’s an understatement,” she said. “For the survivors, lives will never be the same ever.”

She explained the motivation behind her families tribute, which includes illuminated hockey sticks as a cross with 16 pucks and a banner people can sign. It will remain lit until all 16 have been laid to rest. They plan to send the banner once full to Humboldt.

“We want the Broncos, their families, their extended families, their friends, to know that although we are thousands of miles apart, we’re connected by our hearts and the love of the game,” said Lea-Ann with Keith and Michael by her side.

They’re encouraging fellow East Hants residents to stop by and sign the banner, and plan to get the Peewee B team to sign it as well.