As community members grieve the loss of 15 people —mostly young players — associated with a Canadian hockey team, a local florist has been reaching out to offer comfort.
On Friday, members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team were headed to a play-off game when a tractor-trailer collided with their bus, about 185 miles north of Regina, Saskatchewan. The crash killed 15 people and injured 14. The high-profile tragedy has inspired sympathy around the world for the families and team members.
This week, Tanya Anderson of Wascana Flower Shoppe in Regina, took to social media to try and help her community heal. “We are hurting, Saskatchewan is hurting,” wrote Anderson, a member of the Society of American Florists. “We know the power of flowers — we know when we are sad, they make us feel better. We want you all to feel a little bit better. Please stop by and grab a bundle of yellow carnations on us, for yourself or for someone who may need some of the power of flowers to help cope with this devastating tragedy.”
Anderson said people have responded to her outreach because the story “hit so close to home for everyone in Saskatchewan,” including her own family.
Growing up, “our teams spent their lives on buses,” she said. “Our teammates were family. Our coaches, our second parents. I didn’t play hockey, but I played basketball, and every weekend for four years, we traveled those highways to play tournaments in our team bus.”
Anderson and her mother, Petra, decided to reach out to suppliers to coordinate a free flower giveaway after they were overwhelmed emotionally by client after client stopping in for flowers to memorialize the victims and give to grieving families. Her supplier quickly arranged for 600 carnations for the outreach, with another 300 stems on “standby.”
The community has responded with deep gratitude, Anderson said.
“People have been stopping by for 15 bundles at a time to take to entire teams and office buildings,” she said. “This was a small gesture, that came from the heart of two really sad people… These are the people that grew us, that continue to grow us and we need to do our part to make sure they will be OK.”