A small community and the hockey world were rocked this weekend following a tragic bus crash that claimed the lives of 15 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team in rural Saskatchewan.
The bus carrying 29 players and coaches, along with the driver, was hit by a semi-trailer as the team was on its way to Nipawin for a playoff game Friday night.
Fourteen people were also injured.
A number of young players are among the dead, which included the coach, assistant coach, bus driver, and the team’s announcer.
Following the crash, a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign was set up by Humboldt resident Sylvie Kellington to raise funds for those affected by the tragedy.
By Monday morning, more than $4.7 million had been donated by over 69,000 people in just two days, making it Canada’s most generous GoFundMe campaign ever.
“Money will go directly to families to help with any expenses incurred,” wrote Kellington on the fundraising site.
“Myself and the staff of GoFundMe [are] now in direct contact with the vice-president of the Humboldt Broncos, and plans are underway to move money raised.”
Donations big and small, along with messages of support, have continued to pour in since Saturday from all corners of the world and the hockey community.
A scroll through the GoFundMe page donations list shows people and businesses are donating whatever they can, including donations from a number of NHL teams and players.
The Pittsburgh Penguins donated $20,000, Bauer Hockey contributed $15,000, while the Calgary Flames and Toronto Maple Leafs both donated $10,000.
Former Toronto Maple Leaf captain Dion Phaneuf donated $10,000, in addition to contributions from a number of current and former NHL players including Drew Doughty, Shawn Horcoff, and Tyler Bozak.
On Sunday evening, hundreds gathered to show their support for the victims at Elger Petersen Arena in Humboldt, the home of the Broncos junior league hockey team.
Among those in attendance were Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, and hockey broadcasters Don Cherry and Ron MacLean.