Life in Saskatchewan is like living in one big, spread out community.
Whether you live in Regina, Saskatoon, Weyburn, Davidson, Chamberlin, Climax, Uranium City or any of the medium to small towns or even villages that make up this great province, we all have a connection. We might make jokes at each others expense from time-to-time, but ultimately, everyone in Saskatchewan has each others back. It’s something that makes this province great.
For many, one uniting force has always been the Saskatchewan Roughriders and there’s no doubt that the team understands it’s importance. Because of that, they’ve always gone out of their way to make sure that they make an impact in communities all across the flatland and not just in their home base of Regina.
That’s why they’re the Saskatchewan Roughriders and not the Regina Roughriders. (Though, that is the joke when the team is struggling.)
Given the team’s enormous platform and following, it should come as no surprise that the Humboldt Broncos bus tragedy has been front and centre for this team in the days and weeks following the horrific event.
The team has already promised to bring the Grey Cup to town, should they win the big prize in November. A nice symbolic gesture, but obviously there’s no guarantees there.
They’ve also tweaked their helmets to have “Humboldt Strong” written on the back.
Some players, like Duron Carter, have come up with their own ways of supporting the community.
Add in a moment of silence before their first game of the season and that’s probably where they could have left it.
Instead, the team is taking their efforts one step further.
A day has been set aside for Humboldt to make the Roughriders their own. On Sunday, a day that might have normally been an off-day due to their scrimmage on Saturday in Saskatoon, the team will instead travel to the area for a morning walk-through, followed by a community barbecue and autograph session. The logistics weren’t easy to sort out, I’m sure, but it’s definitely worth it.
Some members of the team have already been to the community since the tragedy, but this will be a unique opportunity for the entire team to come together and show their support. To give something to the town that has been through so much over the last while and will continue to struggle with this for years to come.
The team is also planning a fundraising game later this season when they host the Montreal Alouettes. A night that is sure to stir up emotions and will no doubt raise a pile of cash.
For all of this, the Riders deserve credit. Not that they’re looking for it in this instance. It’s simply the right thing to do, nor was it a particularly difficult decision, I’m sure.
This franchise has been far from perfect both on and off the field over the years but you can always count on them getting one thing right, their commitment to the communities and the people of this province.