Bemidji Group Helping Humboldt Heal With Pee Wee Hockey
On April 6, 2018, the small town of Humboldt, Saskatchewan was changed forever when a bus carrying the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team was struck by a semi-truck, killing 16 people and injuring 13 others. Donations, tributes, and support poured in from the hockey community, including right here in Bemidji. That support is creating a memorable experience for the town’s pee wee hockey team this weekend.
“Everybody was looking forward to having Christmas come and go and get ready to come down here and play some hockey,” says head coach Maury Simoneau.
The Humboldt pee wee hockey team is in Bemidji playing in the Paul Bunyan International Hockey Tournament, thanks to the Help Humboldt Heal group and the Post 14 American Legion, who raised over $18,000 to bring the team here.
“The idea just came to me,” said Help Humboldt Heal organizer Jim Haskell. “What could we do? I thought the best thing was our pee wee hockey tournament because it’s the best tournament put on in Bemidji.”
“We are so excited, we are so thankful to Jim Haskell and the Help Humboldt Heal committee that he put together to raise the money to bring the team here,” says tournament chairman John Carlson. “It’s really exciting.”
Their head coach is grateful for the support Bemidji has shown and says this week will be an experience they’ll never forget.
“We really can’t put into words how thankful we are to the Bemidji Legion and all of the citizens of Bemidji who got behind this cause and supported us coming down here,” says Simoneau.
The week’s festivities started today with a meet and greet between the Bemidji and Humboldt teams to welcome them for the tournament and learn about each other’s homes.
“Sometimes the kids have to get the idea that the other teams are not your enemy,” says Haskell. “They’re the ones that make you better players and you realize in something like this that they’re kids just like you.
Humboldt will be playing for more than just a trophy and hopes to make their hometown proud this weekend.
“This has been a challenging year and one that is hard for so many that were directly impacted. If we can come down here and represent our community in a positive way and the legacy that last year’s team had, we will certainly try our best to do that,” says Simoneau.