The first I heard of it was in a Facebook post from Ron Gallo on Friday evening.
Then the word ‘fatalities’ started to show up in some of the reports. And it kept getting worse.
The next story I saw was more official. It said there had been 14 people killed in the collision between the team bus and a semi. There were some reports on how the incident occurred, but nothing official.
For a hockey-loving country like Canada, the response to the tragedy was immediate and overwhelming. Expressions of support started pouring in almost immediately, and then someone started a GoFundMe account to raise money for those affected by the deaths.
Less than 24 hours later, the account had more than a million dollars in it.
Major-league teams showed their support. Before all of the 15 NHL games on Saturday, the players on both teams gathered at centre ice in a circle of unity for a moment of silence.
I don’t know if this same thing was said at each game, but one I saw on YouTube had the PA announcer saying, “They say you don’t play for the name on the back of the uniform, you play for the crest on the front. Tonight, both teams are playing for the name on the back.”
Both teams in that game, and probably in others, had “Broncos” as the nameplate on the back of their uniforms.
It wasn’t just hockey, either. Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds, a Canadian, wrote the team name on his cleats before their game Saturday. Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays took the mound with the Broncos name written on his baseball cap.
And then there was the picture I saw Saturday evening, of three members of the team in the hospital. Each of them was hooked up to a lot of medical equipment, and they were clasping hands.
I saw that picture, and one thought came to mind.
These Broncos won’t be broken.