Over the weekend, as Humboldt, Sask. reeled in the wake of a horrific bus crash that killed 15 members of the town’s Broncos Junior A hockey team, absent the realistic possibility of sending food, tens of thousands of people and organizations from all over the place flooded a GoFundMe account set up to aid the families of the injured and the lost. By late Sunday, more than 60,000 separate donations totalling more than $4.1 million had poured in.Humboldt GoFundMe account expresses a nation’s grief in dollars and cents.

But as the Macleans Magazine article notes, it was not just star athletes and NHL teams who gave generously to a GoFundMe page (set up by Humboldt resident Sylvie Kellington) for the Humboldt Broncos. The great majority of donors’ names “otherwise read like those you’d see on the boards of any junior hockey arena. Every Canadian household was deeply touched by the tragedy suffered by this small community of barely 6,000 and the heartbreak is being felt deeply all through the nation.

It’s a tragedy that’s hit our nation hard. A parent’s worst nightmare. Such young and bright futures cut short too soon. A preventable accident (they were just minutes from their destination), and one that has destroyed so many families and has affected so strongly not only the small community of Humboldt (and will for years, maybe decades to come), but our hockey-loving nation as a whole. The outpour of generosity (the largest fundraising effort ever undertaken in Canada) reflects the hurt and pain every parent whose kid frequently travels to hockey tournaments (or soccer, basketball, concerts, recital…the event may be irrelevant here) can relate to watching this horrific tragedy unfold. This generosity reflects the heartbreak and kinship of a people coming together in the worst possible moments. It is heart-wrenching to read the stories of those whose lives were lost and the bright futures they were well under way of having– one can’t help but strongly sympathize and feel so deeply for their loved ones and their community.

To hear and read stories like that of 20-year-old Jaxon’s Joseph— the star lead scorer of the team and son of former NHLer Chris Joseph– who had been having the best season of his life. Chris and his wife were initially informed that their son had survived the crash and likely suffered head trauma only to be told next morning that Jaxon was in fact one of the victims of the horrific accident. If that initial phone call was hard enough, that second conversation is almost unimaginable. Or to hear of 16-year-old Adam Herold, the youngest player of the Broncos’ roster and lauded from a young age for his exceptional hockey skills, who was called up as an associate player for the Humboldt Broncos’ playoff run, playing a total of eight games with them prior to losing his life in the crash. So many bright and promising lives lost. This is truly a national tragedy. #RIP #HumboldtStrong #HumboldtBroncos#PrayForHumboldt #Humboldt #Saskatchewan #SJHL #MinorHockey#Hockey #Canada #ANationsTragedy

Click on the link to donate to the Humboldt Broncos GoFundme page — GoFundMe — Funds for Humboldt Broncos