The four-team tournament honours four young men who hailed from the city and played for the Broncos before they died in a tragic bus crash in April 2018. Stephen Wack, Logan Hunter, Jaxon Joseph, and Conner Lukan were all St. Albert hockey alumni in addition to playing for the Humboldt Broncos, and this weekend 90 local area players affected by the tragedy got together and headed out onto the ice to play the game in the boys’ honour.
Former Broncos player Tyler Smith took to the podium during the opening ceremony to say a few words about the young men lost last year.
“They brought something that was so important to our team each and every day,” said Smith. “That team we had was able to create endless memories and moments that I know we personally will cherish for the rest of our lives.”
The stands were full of teary-eyed friends, family and community members who came out to show their support for the players in the tournament, as well as those speaking during the ceremony.
Alan Wack, father of Stephen, gave his thanks to all of those who aided in putting the tournament together, in addition to the players that came out to participate.
“Knowing the four of our boys, I can say they would be, and are, humbled, proud and very happy to see all you guys come together in their honour,” said Wack.
Some big names in attendance at the tournament included St. Albert-born NHL players Colton Parayko, a 2019 Stanley Cup Champion with the St. Louis Blues; Nick Holden, a defenceman for the Vegas Golden Knights; and Dallas Stars goaltender Landon Bow.
Hockey Night in Canada host Ron McLean was also at the tournament and performed the ceremonial puck drop in addition to playing for one of the teams during the event.
There was no silent auction this year, as the main purpose was to bring everyone together to play in memory of the young men, however; donations were accepted at the door, and players did take part in fundraising for the St. Albert Humboldt Remembrance Committee – the committee has created a long-term scholarship program in honour of the four players.
According to the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Tournament’s Twitter page, between player fundraising and sponsorship donations, more than $22,000 has been raised this year.