Apr 9, 2018

I planned on blogging this week about the Iowa Wild and the disappointment of missing the playoffs.  I thought I’d dive into the club’s recent trends, statistics, etc. If you noticed (you probably didn’t), I skipped my blogging duties last week, mainly because there’s not a whole lot of positive spin you can put on a winless skid that, at the time, was nearing double digits.

And although it’s very disheartening to have another season end without a playoff appearance, there’s plenty of time this summer to rehash the season that was, the ups-and-downs, the individual breakout performances and everything else that makes us love hockey so much.

However, I just don’t think it’s appropriate for me to write about anything else on this Monday other than the horrific tragedy that rocked the hockey world over the weekend.

Whether you’re a hockey fan or not, I’m sure by now you’ve read or heard about the Humboldt Broncos Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) team, and the accident their team bus was involved in Friday afternoon, which killed 15 members of the team and injured 14 more. Here’s a link to an MSN article in case you missed the news

What occurred just a few days ago is almost unimaginable. It’s devastating, tragic, horrific, mind-numbing….take your pick. It’s one of those situations where it feels like there are no words.

This tragedy affects everyone. Even if you’re not in the hockey business, even if you’re not a fan of the game, or even a sports fan at all, something like this makes your stomach turn over. Everyone on this planet has family, friends, neighbors…and what happened to that team and the community of Humboldt, Saskatchewan won’t ever be forgotten.

Here in Central Iowa, we are more than one thousand miles away from the small town of Humboldt.  Yet, for me personally, it doesn’t feel like that.

It feels almost like I know someone involved in the crash. It feels like I know the town, or the team, or the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League from having worked there. But, that’s not the case. Sure, I’ve known players that played in the SJHL. But I have no direct ties to this tragedy. Yet, I still had a tough time yesterday trying to express myself on the radio when addressing the accident. I’m having a tough time right now trying to type out my feelings.

I’m a lifelong hockey fan, former youth hockey player, broadcaster for a pro hockey team over the last decade-plus, father of three…thus, this tragedy hits home on so many levels.

With that said, I can’t even imagine how those directly impacted by this terrible accident are coping.

There are times in this world where we need “strength,” and sometimes we lean on others to help us find that fortitude – the ability to deal with heartbreak and realize that tomorrow is a new day. I don’t if anyone knows when that “time” will come for Humboldt, Saskatchewan and those closest to the Broncos organization. That’s one of those things that there’s simply no answer for.

But right now, what they need is the continued support that has risen to the forefront since the news broke. So I urge you to keep these folks in your thoughts….and however you cope with tragedy, use that method to help them. Because even though we know that “time heals all wounds,” this is a unique situation.

We’re talking about dozens of families that had their lives turned upside down in the blink of an eye.

And that is something that doesn’t repair easily, no matter how much time passes.

The hockey world has already shown its passion. Players and teams – many of whom are completely unrelated to the SJHL – have made their voices heard. Funds have been created, and millions of dollars have already been raised. Social media has been abuzz in a good way, connecting people around the globe as they grieve together.

And so again, I urge you to show your compassion in whatever way you can.

I know as an organization (both Minnesota and Iowa), we are going to do our part. At Tuesday night’s home game against the Rockford IceHogs, the Iowa Wild are going to have silent auction items to bid on (and more) in an effort to raise money. And even though there’s no amount of money or prayers that can completely heal the Humboldt community right now, every little bit counts as they try and get a grasp on the tragic accident.

Hopefully I haven’t overstepped my bounds here. All of this is just my “opinion,” my thoughts flowing out and onto a Word document. There’s more I’d like to say, but I just keep shaking my head in disbelief over the whole thing. 

In closing, please keep the Humboldt Broncos in your hearts for as long as you can.  They’re going to need all the support they can get.

- Wild Joe Radio

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