Dallas Smith (left), Jess Moskaluke and Chad Brownlee are performing along with Gord Bamford, Brett Kissel and The Hunter Brothers at the tribute concert for the Humboldt Broncos tonight in Saskatoon. (DallasSmithmusic.com/CBC/ChadBrownlee.com)

Humboldt benefit concert tonight in Saskatoon

Humboldt is the small city in Saskatchewan that is still grieving the loss and injury of so many of its members following the bus crash on April 6th.

The bus was carrying the Broncos’, the local hockey team in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, when it was hit by a transport truck at a dangerous intersection.

Thirteen people died as a result of the crash, 16 people were injured.

An outpouring of sympathy and condolences came from far and wide across North America, from other sports teams and members, and families who are very familiar with the long bus trips that are part of playing a sport, or playing in a band.

“There is a brotherhood that is built on the bus, in the dressing room”

So when Country Thunder Music Festivals put out a call for musicians to perform in a Humboldt Broncos tribute concert, the response was tremendous and immediate.

Performers such as Brett Kissel, Dallas Smith, Chad Brownlee, Jess Moskaluke, Gord Bamford and The Hunter Brothers, were all eager to be part of tonight’s concert, for the benefit of the 29 families affected by the crash.

Chad Brownlee echoed the words of many when he said he’s ridden buses across Canada and the United States in his former life as a hockey player.

“There is a brotherhood that is built on the bus, in the dressing room,” he recalled of being part of a hockey team. “Any time you guys are together, it’s very, very solid. I can’t imagine the feeling of that fabric being torn.”

The tragic news hit him to the core, he told CBC News.

Humboldt Broncos home ice, at the Elgar Petersen Arena, was the scene of a vigil on April 8, to honour the victims of the fatal bus accident. The ring around centre ice became a memorial lined with flowers and other tributes soon after the April 6 crash that killed 16 people and injured another 13.

Brett Kissel shared his reaction when he heard the news of the crash.

“We think to ourselves: all these miles that we’ve put on the road and yet it happened to these other kids and these other families,” he said. “It certainly hits home for us, and I think every travelling musician that lives and sleeps and spends all their time on buses.”

Kissel said he wants those who are in a state of grief and mourning to know he’s in their corner, much like everyone else in Canada and, in fact, the world.

“It will be a night to celebrate the lives that were cut too short but to celebrate all the good that these kids brought into the world and the good that they did for their families,” he said.

The concert takes place at the SaskTel Centre, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Meanwhile, training for semi-trailer drivers has come under scrutiny.

Only the province of Ontario has mandatory training; it is optional in everywhere else in Canada.

Yesterday it was reported that Saskatchewan is implementing a 70-hour training program beginning in 2019. 

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