The Realtors Association of Edmonton joined with partners in the St. Albert area to raise more than $250,000 at the recent sold-out Jersey Gala in honour of victims of the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash earlier this year.
More than 650 people attended the wear-your-favourite-jersey event that paid tribute to Jaxon Joseph, Logan Hunter, Conner Lukan and Stephen Wack, who were all from the area and among the 16 players, coaches and staff who lost their lives in the fatal crash last April.
The star-studded event, which raised funds for four annual scholarships in the players’ names, was hosted by Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean. It included a keynote address from former CBC news anchor Peter Mansbridge, a poignant performance of Big League by prairie singer/songwriter Tom Cochrane and an emotional rendition of O Canada by Wack’s younger brother Justin.
The evening was also attended by families of the players, who wore Broncos jerseys with the names and player numbers of their loved ones.
“The event sold out in 36 hours at $200 a seat,” says Jersey Gala vice-chair Chuck Mulholland, a long-time Realtor in the area.
In addition to ticket sales, the gala raised funds through silent and live auctions. The $250,000 represents nearly half of the $500,000 goal originally set out by the St. Albert Humboldt Remembrance Committee. The money raised will go toward funding memorial scholarships, with the goal of helping future St. Albert students. It will also help fund a stick memorial inside Akinsdale Arena, as well as four memorial benches on pathways in the city.
Mulholland says that while the event came together quickly, organizations such as the Realtors Association of Edmonton and celebrities Mansbridge, Cochrane, Maclean, Olympian Meaghan Mikkelson and Edmonton Oilers legend Paul Coffey all came on board as soon as they were approached.
“They all donated their time to something that has touched all Canadians,” says Mulholland, explaining the idea of guests wearing jerseys to the event was to have them share their personal stories, but also come together for a common goal.
The gala also included touching moments such as the auctioning of Cochrane’s signed guitar, sold for $10,000 to Coffey, who immediately brought it to Joseph’s parents.