Families and friends of the Humboldt Broncos got to relax and have some rare fun on April 27 with the Country Thunder Humboldt Broncos Tribute show at Sasktel Centre in Saskatoon.
The concert line up was a who’s who of Canadian country artists, says Gerry Krochak, Director of Marketing and Media Relations with Country Thunder Music Festivals, with all proceeds going to the families of the Humboldt Broncos players.
Dallas Smith, Brett Kissel, Gord Bamford, Chad Brownlee, Jess Moskaluke, and the Hunter Brothers all gave of their time to support the family and friends of the Humboldt Broncos.
April 5 was a good day for Krochak. He and his team were at Country Thunder Arizona, where they saw record attendance.
April 6 was a different story with many people working the Country Thunder Music Festival being from Saskatchewan.
That meant a lot of devastated people that were grieving along side Humboldt and their home province and looking for a way to help.
“We were like everyone else. You wanted to help but you were so stunned, it was hard to know what to do,” says Krochak.
The thing they do know how to do is put on events, says Krochak, and Country Music Thunder Festivals CEO Troy Vollhoffer, who is not only Saskatchewan born but also has a hockey background, and Kelly Chase, formerly of the
Humboldt Broncos, got the conversation going.
Canadian artists stepped up, says Krochak, giving of their time and energy for free to bring support to the families and friends in attendance.
“The artist’s hearts were really in it. When I think about it, music and sport, especially hockey, they bring people together,” says Krochak.
Even with so many incredible moments during the show, one highlight for Krochak, as well as many people in the crowd, was Chad Brownlee’s Humboldt version of Big League, which was approved by original artist, Tom Cochrane.
It brought grown men and women to tears, he says.
This special mix of Canadian artists included Shaunavon, Sask. hometown boys, the Hunter Brothers, who have been in Humboldt numerous times since April 6, speaking with billet families and performing at Darcy Haugan and Brody Hinz’s funerals.
As soon as they heard, they knew they needed to get involved to help anyway they can, says J.J. Hunter.
The Broncos crash hit close to home in many ways for all five Hunter Brother brothers with two of them previously playing in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League as well as one brother going to school with head coach Darcy Haugan, says Hunter.
“The hockey community is a small community so all those factors tied together made it hit close to home for us and we knew the second we heard, even to this day, we continue to feel heartbroken over it.”
As the Hunter Brothers finished up their Ontario tour, the love for the Humboldt Broncos was readily felt, says Hunter.
As much as Krochak admired them as musicians, after all the Hunter Brothers have done during this time, Krochak admires them more as people, he says.
With everything else that has been going on around the Humboldt Broncos, Krochak says that the Saskatoon concert is evidence of what happens when a bunch of Saskatchewan hosers decide they are going to do something.
“No matter how outlandish, you best get out of their way,” laughs Krochak. “I don’t know where else this could of happened.”
To have everyone come together and contribute in so many different ways is really astonishing, he says.