Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

IN YUKON’S HEART – Sport Yukon employees and administrators, and Yukoners who wanted to pay their respects, don hockey jerseys and gather for a photo in support of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy Thursday at noon.

Yukoners show support for Humboldt victims

Thursday’s Jersey Day saw commemorations across the country for the city of Humboldt and the 16 people who died in the Saskatchewan bus crash last Friday.

By Dustin Cook on April 13, 2018

Thursday’s Jersey Day saw commemorations across the country for the city of Humboldt and the 16 people who died in the Saskatchewan bus crash last Friday.

Hockey Yukon quickly jumped on board to join other groups across the country in wearing jerseys to show support for the Humboldt Broncos hockey team.

And on Thursday, jerseys flooded Whitehorse – from schools, workplaces across the city and government buildings.

Organizations took photos to show their support including Sport Yukon, the governing body of sport in the territory, who took a photo in front of the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame with anyone in the city who wanted to attend in their jersey.

It was early Thursday morning when Yukon hockey mom and Whitehorse Minor Hockey Association vice president Richelle Bierlmeier put on her hockey jersey to support the Broncos and shed a few tears.

Bierlmeier said it was at that moment she knew the whole Whitehorse community has been impacted and it would have been a good idea to gather together for a photo of everyone in their different jerseys.

But being the morning of, she said she posted the thought to Facebook thinking it was too late.

And at 9 a.m. after several of her friends saw the post, the plan was in action with a poster for a gathering at 6 p.m. in front of the SS Klondike.

“Word travels fast in this town,” Bierlmeier said of her amazement to the quick reaction from the community. “That’s Whitehorse. We’re a hockey town and that’s what its about.

“It’s fantastic, and it’s the city we live in, and that’s exactly the reason why it happened.”

Organized in less than a day, more than 250 people – ranging in a variety of ages and jerseys – went down to the national historic site and took a group photo to send support.

Bierlmeier said this tragic accident, as for many people, hit very close to home for her and many Yukoners because she has two kids in hockey.

“It’s really affected me and everybody that I’m associated with,” she said. “It truly, truly breaks your heart.”

On Thursday, while juggling the organization of the impromptu gathering, Bierlmeier was loading hockey bags into cars as young Whitehorse hockey teams were headed off to Osoyoos, B.C. for a spring hockey tournament.

The 2006- and 2008-born youth teams couldn’t attend the evening photo as they had a 4:30 p.m. flight to catch, but Bierlmeier said they were all wearing their green Whitehorse Huskies jerseys throughout the day and took photos as a group outside the airport before heading off.

Whitehorse sports teams travel extensively outside of the territory to attend competitive tournaments, and Bierlmeier said it is always a nervous time for the parents.

“It’s always forefront in your mind when they head off as a team and something like this happens,” she said.

Also, many young Yukon athletes leave the territory to play sports at a high level and many Yukoners are currently playing in Western Canada.

“There’s a ton of kids going down there for school,” Bierlmeier said. “For so many of the parents, it does hit so close to home.”

And Bierlmeier said that is why it was so important for the community to do what it can and show their support for Humboldt.

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