Saskatchewan strong. Okay, that’s not the hashtag. It’s #HumboldtStrong.
But fans in Langley felt the Prairie power last night, when the Saskatchewan Rush trampled the Vancouver Stealth 20-10 and at the same time the recent tragedy in Saskatchewan prompted the lacrosse crowd to reach deep into their pocket to help those devastated by a bus accident that killed 16 people and injured another 10 from the Humboldt Broncos.
Indeed, the strength, resolve, and determination of the Saskatchewan players wasn’t the only impressive display at Langley Events Centre on Friday.
More moving was a jersey fundraiser that fueled a donation of $14,000 to Humboldt.
The local pro lacrosse team held an online auction throughout the week and ended with a live auction during last night’s game where fans were encouraged to bid on their favourite players, mascot, and game host’s jerseys.
After the tallies were calculated Stealth fans raised $13,475, explained defenceman Andrew Suitor.
“This was a great cause, no matter if you play junior hockey or junior lacrosse, you are on a bus with all your friends and travelling around and it is not something you should be expecting,” Suitor said.
“Our hearts are full, everyone is behind that community, not just B.C. or Ontario, but all of Canada. This game meant a lot because you always hear, there are more important things than just sports and we have found out the hard way last week that community is more important than sports.”
He went on to say: “Canada is a community and how we have come together with hockey sticks outside on front porches and wearing a jersey in solidarity, it does not matter where you are from or what your background is, we are Canadian, and we stick together.”
In the matchup with Saskatchewan Rush Friday, Vancouver came out hard. But they quickly fell behind the Prairie team and never fully regained their footing.
Vancouver opened the scoring 25 seconds into the first frame, but it was all Saskatchewan after that, closing the half with a 9-2 lead. After half time, the Stealth sparked a five-goal third and a three-goal fourth, but the Rush were too much, closing the game with 20-10 victory.
But the night was about much more than the game itself. Friday night was also a celebration for the Stealth and their fans, during their annual Lacrosse on the Move Night.
Every year, the Stealth dawn custom British Columbia flag inspired jerseys and auction them off to benefit the BC Lacrosse on the Move Fund. This year, the Stealth, the BCLA – along with sponsor Vanichuk Transport – decided that the only option was to donate money raised to those affected by the Humboldt tragedy.
Once the official total was announced, Stealth owner Denise Watkins donated $525 to bring the tally to $14,000 going to Humboldt Relief Fund through Conexus Credit Union.
A very special thank to the annual BC jersey sponsor Mike Vanichick Transport Co., and BC Lacrosse, Watkins said.
“From the Stealth ownership, team and staff, we extend our sincerest condolences to all of those effected by the tragedy that has taken place and thank you to our wonderful fans who made this happen. #HumboldtStrong.”