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All across Canada and the United States members of the hockey com­munity are leaving sticks on their porches in honor of the 15 members of the Hom­boldt junior hockey team killed in a bus crash on Friday. (Photo: Darcy Her­rfort | Twitter)

Clichés are often overused in the sports world, but some­times they are simply the best way to express what we mean. In the wake of the bus crash which killed 15 members of the Hum­boldt Broncos junior hockey team, the cliché “It’s more than a game” is the best expression to use.

The crash occurred in rural Saskatchewan, Canada, on Friday, claiming the lives of 10 players, the head coach, an assistant coach, a stats expert, the team announcer, and the bus driver. As of Monday, 12 sur­vivors remained in the hos­pital, according to The Globe and Mail, a Canadian paper.

Each player killed was between the age of 16 and 21, leaving parents and family members in shocked grief. The com­munity of Hum­boldt rallied around the fam­ilies, spon­ta­neously gath­ering at the team’s arena to comfort, mourn, and sit and look out at the empty ice. Still, many res­i­dents show their support by wearing team sweaters when they go out.

Canadian Prime Min­ister Justin Trudeau and leg­endary hockey announcers Don Cherry and Ron MacLean attended a cer­emony on Sunday for those lost. The incident also gar­nished con­do­lences and mourning from the Canadian Royal Family and the Pres­ident of the United States, Donald Trump.

Perhaps the most pow­erful out­pouring, however, came from those tied to the young men by nothing more than a game. On Sat­urday the Win­nipeg Jets and the Chicago Black­hawks gathered at center ice before their game, observing a moment of silence while wearing jerseys with “BRONCOS” replacing the last names of players.

The public address announcer told the crowd, “In hockey, we’ve learned that you don’t play for the name on the back of the jersey, but for the Crest on the front. But tonight, we play for the name on the backs of these jerseys: the Hum­boldt Broncos.” After a near minute-long moment of silence and a ren­dition of “O Canada” which left no attendee silent and no eye dry, the players embraced, not as Jets and Hawks, but as members of the hockey com­munity.

Across Canada and the United States the out­pouring took per­sonal tones. Thou­sands of players, parents, and coaches within the hockey family placed hockey sticks sur­rounded by candles on their porches, “just in case the boys need one,” as many put it on social media. My 11-year-old nephew was one such player.

He didn’t know anybody on that bus and probably couldn’t have told you there was a hockey team in Hum­boldt, but he felt a con­nection to those young men, even at his age. This com­munity is what makes sports so much more than a game.

The key, however, is to remind our­selves of this outside of tragedy. Of course, we ought to come together in times of duress, but we must also remember this closeness in everyday com­pe­tition. Whether it’s assisting an injured opponent, holding your tongue toward an official, or any­thing similar, we should keep the greater picture in mind. As any of us know, this is not always easy to do, but it’s what being part of a com­munity is all about.