HANTS COUNTY, N.S. — A former Walton resident is thankful for the outpouring of support his home province has provided in the wake of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy.
Wade Gould, who grew up in Walton and moved out west in 1977, watched Logan Schatz, the team captain of the Humboldt Broncos, grow up playing hockey.
Schatz was one of 16 people who died following an April 6 accident between the Humboldt Broncos' bus and a semi-truck. The collision shook not only the junior hockey world, but the entire country, and beyond.
Tributes in memory of the hockey players popped up everywhere – from jersey day on April 12 to putting hockey sticks outside of homes and workplaces. A Go Fund Me page that was launched to raise money for the families of the deceased as well as the injured parties, brought in more than $15 million.
In Windsor, N.S., where the town lays claim to being the Birthplace of Hockey, the Windsor Hockey Heritage Society created a special book of condolences and encouraged residents to sign.
It was a gesture that Gould said was incredibly touching.
“It's unreal. It's great to see. It brought tears to my eyes,” said Gould in a phone interview, with his voice strained as he maintained composure.
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Before moving to Saskatoon, Gould lived in Schatz's hometown — Allen — for 25 years. He fondly remembers watching Schatz play hockey in the local rink.
“Everybody in a small town knows everybody else. Allen was only about 700 people,” said Gould.
“I had a son playing hockey. Bobby was quite a bit older but still, we were always at the rink,” he said.
“I just got to watch him play, standing there with his father and telling stories.”
Gould said he'll always remember the forward as being a “happy-go-lucky” guy.
Schatz, 20, was laid to rest April 15. He was a son of Bonnie and Kelly Schatz.