FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Co-op in Fort St. John is one of almost 200 locations across Western Canada to donate to a player support program launched by the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Monday in the wake of last Friday’s tragic crash involving members of the Humboldt Broncos.
SJHL President Bill Chow announced yesterday that the league was establishing the Assistance Program for anyone, both within the Broncos organization and in the league’s other 10 teams, who are directly and deeply affected by the crash last week that claimed the lives of 15 members of the team.
“The SJHL is overwhelmed with the support for the SJHL Assistance Program. This program will aid in providing mental health assistance, counselling and grieving for all the players of the SJHL,” said Chow. “Should there be funds available, the extra monies will go into an education program in memory of the lives lost on April 6, 2018.”
To get the program started, 44 local Co-ops that are part of the Co-operative Retailing System across Western Canada made a collective donation of $135,000 to support the Assistance Program. Fort St. John Co-op General Manager Brad Lussier said that $2,500 of that amount came from his branch, while another $10,000 was donated by other Co-ops in the B.C. Peace Region. Federated Co-operatives Limited CEO Scott Banda said his company has matched those retail donations, for a total of $270,000. Banda said that FCL will continue to match donations up to a potential total of $500,000.
“Like so many Canadians, we’re looking for any way we can to help the many people in the Broncos organization, and throughout the league, and indeed across Western Canada, who are grappling with the physical and emotional devastation caused by this accident,” said FCL CEO Scott Banda. “I hope that our contributions today are only the start and that they’ll encourage other businesses and organizations to donate to the SJHL Assistance Program as it supports players and their families in the coming months.”
The SJHL also announced it would sell #HumboldtStrong t-shirts at Co-ops with proceeds going to the Assistance Program. Details on when the t-shirts will be available in stores will be provided as soon as possible.