Through the Humboldt tragedy, youth have found a way to 'lean on each other'

Many young kids and teens are struggling to process the Humboldt crash but parents, educators and hockey coaches are there to be their support.

"Young people find ways to connect with others even though they may not necessarily know them."

Keegan Adair stands with his jersey after leaving Elgar Petersen Arena following a memorial service for Humboldt Broncos play-by-play announcer Tyler Bieber in Humboldt, Sask. April 12, 2018. (Liam Richards/Canadian Press)
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Parents, teachers and coaches have been reaching out to kids and teens across the country who have been grappling with how to process the fatal Humboldt Broncos crash, which claimed 16 lives

Carine Doody lives in Flat Rock, N.L., and is a mother of four girls, aged one to eight.

"My girls have had lots of questions and wanted to show their support," Doody told The Current's guest host Gillian Findlay.

On Thursday, Canadians wore jerseys in solidarity with the Humboldt community. But Doody's family doesn't own hockey sticks or jerseys, so the girls wore their dance uniforms and accessorized with green and yellow "to show that we're not a part of hockey but we're certainly a part of this country and we were feeling the same things."

Wearing the dresses, Doody said, was her way of teaching her kids to "express empathy and spread love and support."

As a parent, she told Findlay, she didn't want to shield her kids from the reality of what happened, but took the opportunity to educate them.

"I sat down and I showed them some images and I showed them the people who lost their lives and told them their names."

"I think talking to them and communicating with them is a very important step."

Strength in dark times

Communication and connection echo in the hallways of Chris Dunken's high school. He's a vice-principal in Mount Pearl, N.L., as well as a dad and high school hockey coach.

He said what struck him most about this week is witnessing "the strength that exists in people, even through times that seem so tragic and so dark."

"Today's young people find ways to connect with others even though they may not necessarily know them."  

Through vigils and jersey days and hockey sticks outside, Dunken said, people from far away can feel they are not alone. 

"What I really find overwhelmingly positive about this is that the kids ... haven't been told to react in a certain way but they find it in their own way to help each other get through this and have an opportunity to lean on each other."

Wearing your heart on your jersey

'Live for these boys. Cause they would do the same for you. Rest easy y'all,' wrote Toronto hockey player Mackenzie Lloyd, 18, on her Instagram account, reacting to the Humboldt crash. (Submitted by Mackenzie Lloyd)

"These little things like jersey day and putting out the hockey sticks make a big difference," wrote 18-year-old Mackenzie Lloyd on her Instagram account.

After hearing about the tragic crash, she shared her grief online.

"No one expected this, no one. So when I heard the news, my heart dropped to the pit of my stomach. I'm so angry with the world. I'm lashing out because I'm frustrated, and I'm hurt," Lloyd wrote.

Tyler Deis, the head coach of the Okotoks Oilers Junior A hockey team in Calgary, has seen firsthand the frustration and sadness in his players' eyes. 

"We've had a couple guys on our team that had close relationships with some of the players on the bus so it's definitely difficult," he told Findlay.

Deis said he tries to make sure there are always lots of people around so it's easy for players to talk to someone if they need to, and he said people are not home by themselves.

"It's good for us as a team because we are together."

Listen to the full conversation at the top of this page, where you can also share this article across email, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.


This segment was produced by The Current's Pacinthe Mattar, Alison Masemann and Ines Colabrese.

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