Estevan is truly grieving alongside Humboldt, and the world, in the wake of the tragic events over the past weekend.

In under 8 hours on Sunday afternoon, a vigil was organized for local residents to pay their respects and show solidarity with their brethren to the north. Tears flowed from the Multi Purpose Room in Affinity Place as people were connected via livestream to the massive service held in the Elgar Peterson Arena in Humboldt.

"It just brings back memories from '86, the Saskatoon to Swift Current bus crash. A very good friend of mine died in that. He was a really good guy, so this brings it all back. This night that we're honoring, it's good," shared one man in attendance, while preferring to remain anonymous.

Another local resident in attendance was Gail Chilman, who had the special bond of 'billet mom' with former Broncos Head Coach Darcy Haugan while he played in Estevan.

"It means the world to me, as Darcy's billet mom, it's even more," she said of the turnout for the service, "There was a lot of people that knew him, that remember him, so it's wonderful to see all those people out."

Meanwhile, Estevan Bruins Assistant Coach Carter Duffin expressed that, while his team is hurting and still trying to grasp the situation, they appreciate the tremendous support that has arisen.

People wrote notes to the Broncos, to be passed on by the Bruins' office.

"It was great to see everybody that was able to make it out. This gym was full of people, the chairs were full, people were standing around the side. The connections to the Humboldt community, the coaching staff, the players, the personnel that were involved, it's fantastic to see the outpouring of support to the community."

Fire Chief Dale Feser was in full dress uniform to pay his respects, himself having direct connections with some of the emergency workers that were on the scene of the crash.

"I am familiar with quite a few of the first responders and the fire chiefs that did respond to this particular incident. Our thoughts and prayers and our strength goes out to them," he expressed.

For Diane Wenham, organizing the event was almost literally a last minute task.

"I had a phone call at about 11:00 Sunday morning that there was a need, people were needing something, they needed to be part of it, they needed to share. We talked to City Management and put it together very, very quickly. The staff from the leisure center just jumped right in, got everything set up. The Mayor came, a couple of counselors made it, it was just fantastic."

"It means so much, because it means that they're supporting these kids," she said of the turnout of nearly 300, if not more, "They're not just supporting the Humboldt Broncos, but also the Estevan Bruins and all the kids in minor hockey whether it be a six year old right up to someone who's graduating from it."

Folks in attendance were also able to write condolences and heartfelt messages to be left with the Bruins' office, who would then send them all to the Broncos organization.

The tragedy has touched world leaders as far as U.S. President Donald Trump and Queen Elizabeth in England, as well as many hockey celebrities in the NHL and beyond. 

People across Saskatchewan are asked to wear green on Monday to show their support, while all flags will remain at half mast for 15 days, one for each fatality.

Chairs were filled almost as soon as they were added.


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