Our region, in some way, is no different than Humboldt, Sask.
In North Dundas, neighbouring South Dundas, heck all parts north, south, east and west of here, there are young people riding buses in pursuit of their sporting dreams.
The Winchester Hawks set off to far-reaching destinations this past season, while the North Dundas Rockets were back and forth to Quebec during the National Capital Junior Hockey League’s recent championship final.
That’s on top of countless other top-tier hockey programs operating locally.
Beyond that, many athletes in other disciplines board various forms of transportation as they head across the region, province or country.
It is this fact that brought the disastrous traffic accident involving the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team into the forefront of most homes once news of the crash began to spread last weekend.
In all, 15 people were killed, including players, members of the coaching staff, the team’s statistician and play-by-play announcer, and the bus driver.
Images from the crash scene show just how violent the collision between the team’s bus and a passing tractor-trailer was. The bus’ roof was pried off like it was nothing more than a tin can, while the transport’s cargo was strewn about the lonely Saskatchewan highway.
Beyond the dead, countless more cling to life in hospital.
It is a hauntingly familiar time in a village that lost one of its hockey stars when then Hawks captain Chris Thompson was killed in a traffic accident more than a decade ago. Or makes others think of the Renfrew Timberwolves players killed this past season in a single-vehicle crash on Calabogie Road.
You can’t help but wonder where the justice in all of this lies.
Even a Humboldt pastor questioned his religion when he wondered aloud where God was at the time of the horrific accident.
The sad reality is this will go down as yet another horrific hurt in a sporting world that has seen its fair share, including entire teams lost in plane crashes.
It doesn’t ease the pain, of course, but it serves to bring us all that much closer. If nothing else, this tragedy has proved Canada really is nothing more than a small town made up of a few million people.
That’s why homes have hockey sticks outside their front doors right now. The boys lost in the accident, wherever they now are, might need them.
It’s the same reason businesses throughout North Dundas, and other parts of this country, have used their signs and marquees to pay tribute to the deceased.
We are all #Humboldtstrong.