Thousands from the community came to Chinook Winds Park last night (April 13th) for a vigil to honour the Humboldt Broncos and Airdrie’s Ryan Straschnitzki.

The vigil included several prayers to the Broncos and the Straschnitzki family along with tributes from friends, players and coaches.

One of those coaches and close friends is Cody Thompson from White Collar Boxing who started the #StrazStrong movement. He says he was pleased with the turnout.

“It was incredible. It was definitely better than we hoped. I don’t want to say it’s a surprise because we live here, we understand it, we get it and this is just a testament of who we are and where we’re at and we’re just overjoyed that everyone was able to make it.”

Several young hockey players stood at the front throughout the night, holding pictures of the 29 members of the Broncos who were on the bus when it crashed just one week ago.

One of the final moments of the vigil was a stick salute to each member.

Mackenzie Murphy, who helped organize the vigil, said she couldn’t just stay at home and do nothing after hearing about the tragic incident.

“It’s just one of those things where you don’t know anyone from the situation but you feel like you need to do something. For myself I felt helpless, I felt like I was just alone and for me, personally, the only way I know how to deal with this is with the people that I love around me.”

Ryan is still recovering in a Saskatoon hospital but was able to watch the vigil through a live stream.

Thompson, who will soon travel to Saskatoon to see Ryan, said the vigil helped the community move on.

“I feel like, after tonight, I think a lot of us are going to be able to move forward and move forward feeling like we’ve paid our respects and that we can focus on Ryan and his recovery and that was the point.”

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