The Country Thunder Foundation announced the lineup Wednesday for a benefit concert for the 29 families affected by the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy.
The Humboldt Broncos Tribute Concert is scheduled for April 27 at SaskTel Centre.
The concert will feature performances by:
- Dallas Smith
- Brett Kissell
- Gord Bamford
- Chad Brownlee
- Jess Moskaluke
- The Hunter Brothers
Tickets go on sale starting at noon Wednesday and are available through Ticketmaster. They cost $65 and the proceeds will be distributed directly to the families of the 16 killed and 13 injured when the Humboldt Broncos team bus was involved in a collision with a semi truck near Nipawin.
Sasktel Centre executive director Scott Ford said he woke up the day after the Broncos’ bus crash to his wife and daughter crying. When he arrived at work, the tears continued to flow from staff members.
“As the day went on, I saw some amazing things happen,” he said, describing the day following the tragedy.
He received two phone calls that afternoon. The first was from Kelly Boes of Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association to plan some sort of memorial. The second call was from Troy Volhoffer, CEO of Country Thunder Music Festivals.
Within a few hours, those two phone calls would lay the initial groundwork for the benefit concert.
“Being from Saskatchewan, and with strong roots in the hockey community, we wanted to help and be there in any way possible,” said Vollhoffer.
“Saskatchewan is a very special place to be from and the Country Thunder Foundation will support Humboldt through these difficult days.”
The night will have extra significance for performers Chad Brownlee and the Hunter Brothers.
Brownlee played two seasons for the Vernon Vipers of the British Columbia Junior Hockey League before being drafted by the Calgary Flames in the sixth round of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
Four of the five Hunter Brothers also played junior hockey in the prairies before committing to music full-time.
The concert lineup features artists who have collectively amassed seven Juno awards and 28 Canadian Country Music Awards.
Former Calgary Flames forward and Central Butte, Sask. native, Clarke Wilm was at the announcement to represent the 30 NHL players that are expected to attend the concert.
“As a former NHLer that grew up in Saskatchewan, this is what we do,” he said. “We come out to benefits, we love to give back any way we can.”
“We take care of our own.”
Wilm said he vividly remembers being a 10-year-old aspiring hockey player at a Moose Jaw Warriors game, observing a moment of silence for the Swift Current Broncos bus crash that claimed the lives of four players.
“It struck us all to our core because it could have been any one of us. We ride buses and planes across the country. It was just absolutely heartbreaking to get news of the accident,” Wilm said.
“As a former NHLer that grew up in Saskatchewan, this is what we do,” Vollhoffer said. “We come out to benefits, we love to give back any way we can.”
An online jersey auction was launched with the announcement.
Winning bidders will receive the jersey in a special meet and greet with the corresponding player following the concert.
Sean Monahan, Haley Wickenheiser and Bryan Trottier are just some of the jerseys available.