Play Hard for Humboldt

hockey sticks

I am a hockey Mom.  And today my heart is breaking for our hockey family touched by tragedy.    I am a hockey Mom to my own boys, yes, but not just to them. I am a hockey Mom to all of their teammates, to the kids they play, to hockey players everywhere. When I watch an NHL game, or a Junior team play, I still see someone’s kid out there, and think of how proud their parents must be. They are our boys.  Our girls. You see, we are a hockey family.  This game of hockey that requires so much time, travel, sacrifice and dedication ties us together.

Sure, we are fierce competitors on the ice, staring each other down before a game, but if one of our family falls, we are all on the same team. We feel each others pain,  we embrace each others’ losses and wins.  We are bound by this crazy hockey lifestyle, driving our players around on pitch-black mornings.  Freezing our butts off for hours in cold arenas.  Cashing in our life savings to pay for it all. We take others in, open our homes, feed billets, jam teammates into hotel rooms to save money.  Hockey family is always welcome.  We happily feed each others boys, tie their skates.  Everyone gets hugs and high-fives. There’s a respect, an understanding.  We get it.  We have each others’ backs.

Hockey Moms are tough, sometimes too tough, but today our hearts break, and our enthusiastic, loud cheers have turned to silence.  We quietly wonder, why? how?

This morning, we sit,  thinking of the times that we have complained about smelly gear, or another expensive weekend away, or that Mom who yells too loud at the rink. And we realize now, that right now, none of that matters and ALL of it is worth it.

So. worth. it.

Right now, there are members of our hockey family who desperately wish they could drive their son to the rink one more time.  They will go into the garage and instead of being angry when they trip over a hockey stick, they will bend down, and cling to that stick as if it were the most important thing in the world, because their son, now gone, once held that stick.  Their son celebrated life holding that stick, learned about hard work holding that stick, made best friends holding that stick, grew into a man holding that stick, and never wasted a moment of his life while holding that stick.

So hockey Mamas everywhere, for your sisters and brothers, for the families of our boys on the Humboldt Broncos, and for our hockey family everywhere,  pull your toques back on, keep cheering loud and be grateful that you still have smelly gear to wash.  Embrace your hockey family.  Don’t leave anyone behind. Support those kids.  Feed dreams and play hard for Humboldt.  It’s worth every penny, and every moment.




(plural ohanas)

  1. An extended family unit.

OriginFrom Hawaiian ʻohana.

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54 Responses to Play Hard for Humboldt

  1. Angela says:

    Beautifully written. My heart is also breaking, this tragedy has consumed my every thought since Friday.

    • Bearmama says:

      Me too Angela. I wrote these words from my heart that breaks for the families of these young boys.

    • Gail Dance says:

      As a gram have travelled the road with my son, then my grandson, with tournaments my location was more central so had the out of towners with parents, dogs and the smell I still miss to this day. One year as grandparents had 3 – 14 yr.old, then second year had 5- 15 yr.old live with us for a new hockey school, my hubby even said he missed them at the end of school. Wonderful and so sad to share with the hockey families that are mine too, even though I never have or will never meet. Even though the words of “thoughts & prayers” became empty, for a time, believe now they have the true meaning they were meant to say.

  2. Christi says:

    Wow!!! Beautifully written!

  3. Tamara says:

    I am a hockey mom!!! 🏒🏒🏒🏒I am cheering on my 4th boy to play hockey the other 3 are older and moved on!!! The ride has been most of all fun! Yes tuff $ wise, but WORTH EVERY PENNY! I am 💔 for these families!!! I have billeted 3 years in a row! I always would think …how tuff it is that these generous moms send their kids to me to play out their dream!!! We are A BIG HOCKEY FAMILY!!! WE ARE ALL 💔😭and so sorrowful for these families . May their beautiful sons and coach RIP.

  4. Tekla says:

    Thank you for this….I am a veteran hockey mama and right now I feel like the rookie….my tears come at will and flow with pain for parents who are my friends and others I do not know. I do know we are in this together because like you say…our boys, our girls are all encompassing in this hockey world…we hurt and mourn and struggle to understand. Thank you for your words, today, every little bit helps.

  5. Patty Vardaro charles says:

    In tears. Thank you for expressing how we all feel so elequently.

  6. Sue Dwyer says:

    We will play hard for you Humboldt – Stamford Sharls Pee Wee B, Stamford, CT

  7. Tiffany Reaves says:

    Beautifully written. I was not a hockey mama. Kenton had no interest. However, growing up in Saskatchewan, I totally get it. I watched every family with boys tote their sons and cheer them on. I spent countless hours at the rink watching the boys play on the weekend while my friends mom ran the booth and her dad sharpened skates. Hug your kids tight. All moms. You just never know.

  8. Garth says:


  9. Maggie Noel says:

    I am a hockey mom, football mom, and a hockey wife. Thank you so very much for putting into words what I was’t able to. You have explained exactly what it is like to be in a sports family. My heart goes out to each and every person that has been affected by this.

  10. Johnna ancel says:

    As I am a hockey grandma my heart is so broken for all involved. God Bless

  11. Charline says:

    Amen, from a hockey mom!

  12. Karen Walch says:

    You have so eloquently explained what I have tried to explain to people about being a Hockey Mom. They are all our boys/girls. My heart aches for our hockey family. Thank you.

    • Bearmama says:

      Thank you so much. I wrote this to try to stop my own heart from breaking for the families of the Humboldt Broncos. I’m so touched that people are seeing the truth and love in my words.

      • Karen Walch says:

        I think as Hockey Moms we are trying to wrap our heads around this tragedy. I think it is hitting us hard because how many times have we put our boys/girls on a team bus? We all feel the pain of these moms.

  13. Lana Ferris says:

    Truer words never spoken, Thank you.

  14. I’m not a hockey mum, my boys didn’t play and I don’t care for the sport, but I was a soccer, volleyball and basketball mum, often the only parent there for games during the school day, I was the team mum, 4 years after my boys have moved away, I’m still “mama bear” to their team mates, I have been heartbroken by the tragic loss of those precious “boys” men really, but always boys to us mamas. So although it was a different sport the love is still there ❤

    • Bearmama says:

      It is true – family exists in many sports, and any parent that has put their heart into a sport for their children is feeling this loss, regardless of the sport. I thought to mention that, but really needed to focus on how I am feeling about the hockey family in particular right now, and how I am heartbroken and so overwhelmed by hockey associations and teams from everywhere that are banding together to help right now. But yes, it applies to us all, any sports. Children were lost. And our hearts were broken.

  15. Chris Jayne says:

    I’m a hockey dad in UK and I’m not to shy to day this brought a tear to my eye. Well written. Thank you.

  16. Barb Murray says:

    Beautiful words, I am a hockey grandma in Nova Scotia to my granddaughter and grandson, I am in the rink with them most of the games and practices, sometimes trying to be in two rinks at the same time, my 12 year old grandson learned the tragic news on his way to play his last game as a Peewee in the Day of Champions, he was proud to play the role of team captain in the official face off but his heart was heavy and his head was down as the teams and spectators held a moment of silence before the beginning of the game for the tragic loss in our hockey family🏒🏒🏒

  17. Angie Yant says:

    You have a way with words that personally explained our lives better than anyone I’ve ever heard. My prayers and thoughts are with the families of the Humboldt Broncos and the entire Hockey community.

  18. Aaron says:

    A very touching sentiment. My thoughts, my tears and my heart are with the Community of Humboldt.

  19. Margaret says:

    Thanks for putting so many of our thoughts into words. We all hurt for Humboldt 💚💛

  20. Jody says:

    Extremely well said, & very true. My heart is broken & though I’ve always believed that everything happens for a reason, I fail to believe for a second that there is any reason big or small, that could possibly justify such a heartbreaking & unimaginable tragedy. My heart also breaks for the driver of the vehicle that collided with the Hockey bud as I do not know how anyone affected could even begin to pick up the pieces after this.
    Keep your hearts full of prayers & your sticks on the ice, for we are with you in Humboldt now & for life! Xoxo💔

  21. Hockey Mom too says:

    God bless your Hockey Momma Heart. Your words of truth are healing. Thank you!

  22. Lori Piercey says:

    My son, Tristan is unable to play hockey, he cannot skate due to his dev. challenges but I can assure you he is at the neighbourhood rink for hockey practices, games every Friday night at the Jr B level, when he is not cheering our neighbourhood boys he is at the q centre cheering the BCHL or SOFMC with the WHL, cheering the boys on from all levels of play. He brings with him his positive attitude, his high 5s, his pounds & the boys “protector.” The boys, coaches, hockey personnel love him for this. They invite him out to dinners,banquets, etc to thank him for his involvement.
    Myself & his Dad will drive him where, when he needs to go. He also plays ball hockey for exercise and fun. He has found ways to be involved, productive. Like the player who is paralyzed said he will play sledge hockey, they will find ways to be involved in the game of hockey, to the volunteer who tragically passed, our hearts are with you all. Be strong Humboldt, we are with you now & forever.

  23. Holly says:

    So beautifully written and so true! I was once a hockey mom and still cherish those days! Love and prayers to all who suffer in this loss!❤️🙏🏻

  24. Bonnie Paul says:

    Thank u. Every word straight as could be from the heart – for the love of hockey and our children – we are all one family By the Grace of God Let is all share our strength & support for the Humbolt Bronco families today & into the future . This valley of darkness needs hand to hand support every minute of every day ahead. Hugs 🤗 help 🤗🤗🤗

  25. Kelly says:

    Very well written.. Thank you for putting all of us hockey moms thoughts into words.
    Thoughts and prayers to all that were involved.
    Play on for all of the Humbolt boys and families.

  26. Arto Matikainen says:

    Hi hockey mom, I am man from Finland and agree all whit u. I am that guy who give bottle, who take care gears if needed. Now i understand what this all is, be part of hockey family. Here in Finland we all, all who i know, feel deep sorrow. I am humble at i can be part this kind family.

  27. Shelley says:

    Well said!

  28. Robynn says:

    I’m not a hockey mom. I was a football mom and it was the same for us. My heart is just as broken as any of yours because many times our boys were on buses like these travelling to games all over and it could easily have been us going through the horror that you’ve been so cruelly dealt. All involved are in my thoughts and prayers.

  29. My years as a hockey Mom to my two sons have given me some of the happiest memories of my life. I am truly heartbroken for this team and community. You are not grieving alone.

  30. Thank you for writing such heartfelt words. I couldn’t afford hockey for my sons, but as men they play, coach and make it possible for their sons and daughter to play! But I’m a mom and a nana and join in prayer and wishes for strength and courage for all the people of western Canada. This will be a very long journey. Please know that you will not be forgotten. This tragedy has left an agonizing hurt especially the hearts of those directly affected, but also to parents everywhere and sporting organizations worldwide.

  31. Jackie Gentner says:

    Amazing. Thanks for expressing words as a hockey mom I could not formulate. It’s amazing how strong our hockey families truly are and although we are strangers, this hits home. I will be praying and sending well wishes to our extended hockey families. Thanks for your message.

  32. Sharon Kocourek says:

    Beautifully written. My heart goes out to all those families. Can’t imagine the grief. Watched a tribute by one of the dads on Facebook the other day and he felt the same way about all the players and not only his son.

  33. Hello fellow goalie mom (and closet blogger)! I am so glad to have come across this article. I felt compelled to share my own thoughts on our hockey village as well…in such a devastating time it is also a reminder of how willingly we stand to hold our village up. Thank you for sharing your words, and for being part of the village!

    Would like to share my note with you as well…

  34. Deb says:

    Thank you, beautifully written and how all of us hockey moms feel you were able to put into words xo

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