After a tragic bus crash killed 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team and injured 14 more, North Delta resident Daniela Filby wanted to show her support for the Saskatchewan team.
“We’re Surrey Eagles fans,” she said. “So when something happens to a hockey team of that calibre, it literally ripples through everywhere.”
Like many others across Canada and the United States, she set out hockey sticks by her front door in tribute to the lives lost on April 6. Her son, an avid Surrey Eagles fan, wanted to set out fifteen sticks — one for each person killed in the crash.
The hockey stick campaign spread over social media, starting with TSN announcer Brian Munz and expanding under the hashtag #PutYourSticksOut.
“There was a lady who lived in our community, she wanted to put out sticks in support of the Humboldt team, but she didn’t have a hockey stick,” Filby said.
“And I said, ‘Well, message me, we’ve got a few.’”
This first transfer of hockey sticks was the start of what would soon turn into a North Delta-wide drop off and pick up program.
Resident Erin Schulte “said wouldn’t it be great as a community if we could have somewhere that we can have people drop off extra sticks and be able to pick up extra sticks if they don’t have them,” Filby said.
The two teamed up, and started a donation program at New Hope Church. People with extra hockey sticks could drop them off with Filby at New Hope Church, where she works from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and those without can pick them up to put on their front porch.
Fellow North Deltan Lynda Pattison was working on Tuesday to get green ribbons to tie onto the donated sticks. (Green is the Humboldt Broncos team colour.)
In the first three hours of the program, five sticks were donated and five sticks were picked up, although more are expected to come.
Nicole Zywina, who was at New Hope Church while Filby was accepting sticks, said this was the sort of situation that brought hockey players together.
“With people being on a hockey team, I think dynamics of losing a fellow brother, or a fellow player, it hits home,” Zywina said. “My husband, he was a hockey player from the age of three to 18, he even got choked up when he read the story.”
“This being such an unfortunate tragedy, I think people come together,” she continued. “Even though we’re not even in the district of the area, but just the connection that everybody has, of knowing what it’s like.”
Filby will be at the church until Friday, April 13 to accept and hand out hockey sticks.
In addition to the hockey sticks, Filby and Shulte are also working to create a banner for residents to sign with condolences and wishes, which will eventually be sent off to the town of Humboldt.