The effects felt by the terrible tragedy involving the Humboldt Broncos continues to be felt, as the Broncos and the city were the recipients of a new painting at a presentation on April 29.
The painting was completed by Clint Jackson, an Olds, Alta. artist, who says the tragedy hit close to home.
“When I heard about the accident, I was in a meeting that Friday night and we heard there was a bus crash, but didn’t know how many fatalities, and then all of a sudden it got more and more and I said ‘holy, this is unreal,’” he said.
“It hit everybody all around the world and I just started automatically thinking of my son that was in an accident a year ago. We almost lost him and I felt that pain that the parents were going through and I wanted to do something special.”
Jackson was first contacted by Daryl Lowey, a former Humboldt native, who spent a number of years serving as a trainer for the Broncos during the days of Don Clark as coach, and Brad Bergen, Trevor Lloyd, Derick MacPherson, Leonard Esau, Rob Rice, Billy McDougal, Mike Chigosola, and Corey Belitsky on the ice.
“All of these names and more have been flooding my mind. All of these names, with whom I have ridden with on that same stretch of highway, on that same bus,” he noted during his speech at the presentation.
The Broncos hold a special place in his heart, says Lowey, who noted he felt he needed to do something for the community.
“Some of my proudest moments and happiest times while living in Humboldt were spent volunteering with the Broncos. I will always be Bronco green,” he noted.
Lowey noted when he first began discussing the project with Jackson he had some ideas in mind including having the faces of each of the 16 deceased, having angel wings, hockey sticks, as well as the words “Forever Broncos” and a pair of quotes from City of Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench’s speech during the vigil, including, “We will stick handle through” and “we will reach the goal.”
From there, says Lowey, the project was up to Jackson.
Jackson notes the idea for the project was to use each of the elements to tie the whole piece together.
“I wanted the wings to be shaped like a broken heart, yet angels wings wrapped around all the souls. And the hockey sticks tie it together as a team,” says Jackson.
“I think I captured that. I thought the faces in black and white and had the signatures up on the top so that they’re all a family and they always will be.”
The signatures at the top will feature each of the 13 survivors from the accident, with Olds, Alta. native Graysen Cameron being the first to sign.
Cameron was released for a rehabilitation clinic in Alberta last week just in time to attend his former lacrosse teams’ home opener in Olds. There he met Jackson and was able to be the first to sign the painting.
Of course, autographs on the front are not the only signed feature of the painting, as Lowey notes his goal is to have as many of the present and former members of the Broncos organization to sign it on the back as well.
“As they skate with angels, what they don’t have is any home town spectators…Let them know we are cheering them on, and let’s give them the home town advantage.”
Jackson spent approximately four days working on the project, and says he hopes it can bring heeling power to the community of Humboldt.
“I would like to hope that they recognize everybody on there, that they would feel that connection and yet a little bit of closure to a point. We want them to realize that they’re always there, whether they put it in the arena or town office, where ever in the community that they’re there,” he said.
“It was a real honour to be able to do it.”