Humboldt. A small town that's become known around the world through the most devastating of circumstances... Yet in the wake of this dark trial, there's a light shining through. "They woke up that morning hoping to win a playoff game - but they united the world instead." This is the tragic story of April 6, 2018.
As I'm sure you can relate - my heart has been deeply touched by the incredible loss with an urgency to offer support in any way that I can. There are many great articles being shared and while I wish I could find more ways to express my deep sorrow - I hope that my voice comes through this artwork best. I am in anguish for all of the families... the bereaved family and those who survived to bear the physical and emotional scars. When I saw the photo of Darcy leading his team in prayer, then his courageous wife sharing about his life... I knew this work was specifically for them. So I was inspired to paint a tribute in memory of the Humboldt Broncos and all of those affected. It's my hope that you will consider joining me in making it a blessing to others.
I will be donating the proceeds from this painting to the immediate family of Head Coach Darcy Haugan. Darcy leaves behind his wife Christina, and their two sons Carson and Jackson. My heart is absolutely broken for them.
About the Painting
My initial inspiration came from the thousands of people who have "put their sticks out for the boys." I had in mind a visually interesting point of view of the sticks lined up, showing diversity in size/age... It tugs at my heart when I see how many of these tributes are out there.
My husband has played (and loved) hockey his entire life, and our community unites for our own '5th season' every year. We have the SJHL Estevan Bruins and Weyburn Red Wings to cheer for, and a healthy number of young teams coming up - little boys and girls sporting team jackets/toques everywhere! Myself, I was never good at the game, but we've found ourselves no doubt raising four 'rink-rats' - with countless hours spent marking up my floors with their sticks, or heading to the rink down the street. I don't know HOW I didn't see it coming... but I'm proud to say, I'm a hockey mom.
But even with the game of hockey aside; this huge loss of family and community hits VERY close to home. Our front entry is constantly a maze of sticks, gloves, jerseys, water bottles... from overflowing hockey bags ready to head out to the ice. So I took a few photos for reference - where I lined up what sticks were laying around (that didn't take long!) and I included a few of the mini-sticks we've accumulated. One in particular has 'made by Grandpa' in sharpie on the side... a little gift that will no doubt become an heirloom.
Within the painting I've also included a subtle 'Broncos' text on one of the mini-sticks, with the date April 6, 2018 written on it. There is much that the style and imagery is intended to convey; just giving a glimpse into my own hockey family life with worn out sticks, marked up tape, skates-at-the-ready and players of all ages. Most of all, there's truthful, messy, TOGETHERNESS. As the layers were going down I was thinking on the meaning of all of these efforts, with some sort of title to do with 'put your sticks out' in mind. All at once though it was clear me: these strokes are meant to recognize and celebrate the FAMILY. The world has come together in grief for these people, and united us in the desire to help. A photo of three of the guys holding hands in the hospital read: "Saskatchewan, these are our boys." The loss extends so far... as these are our husbands, these are our fathers... these are our sons and daughters, our beloved friends. My heart has been touched as a few 'billet moms' have reached out to me and bought a print for their 'adopted' sons... truly we have all been challenged to let our 'I love you' come out a little more often. And while you're together and you have the chance, you hug like you mean it. It's just so encouraging to be a part of this community of love and support. There are absolutely no words, no tangible things, just nothing we can do to erase what's happened. But let's let our light shine in the darkness, let's hold up the hands that hang down. Thank you so much for helping me in my small part of it as I offer my gift to Christina and the boys. I couldn't do it without you!!
One last note - I haven't yet decided when I will bring this fundraiser to a close, but if you would like to stay updated you can follow me on facebook, if that is helpful. I'm also asking that you PLEASE SHARE this opportunity with anyone who might be interested, so that I can send as much to the family as possible!
Artfully yours, Lauren