Some of the 16 star blankets for families of the Humboldt, Sask., tragedy.
A Manitoba First Nation is honoring the grieving Humboldt Broncos community with traditional star blankets.
The chief of Waywayseecappo, about 320 km northwest of Winnipeg, says the two rural communities share a hockey connection through their respective junior teams.
“Our goalie on the Waywayseecappo Wolverines is the brother to Xavier Labelle,” said Murray Clearsky.
“And our coach used to coach four of their players. So we kind of have close ties with them.”
Clearsky says his band council ordered a blanket for each family affected by the April 6 bus crash that claimed 16 lives.
Labelle was injured but survived.
The Winnipeg woman who made 13 of the blankets says they were “sewn with love.”
“I had also lost a son so I knew what they were feeling,” said Crystal Demerais from her home-based business called Kings and Queens for the sizes of blankets she sews.
“I feel like it’s very healing to work on a star blanket and be able to gift it.”
Clearsky says the blankets in the team’s green, black and yellow colours are “a sign of respect” and used “in our Cree tradition when someone passes on to cover them. Years ago, they used to wrap (the deceased) in blankets. Now they bury the body with the blanket.”
He plans to deliver the blankets to Saskatchewan in person. Along with a gift of about $2,000 collected from his 2,800 community members.
“We are very saddened with what happened with the team. We felt that we had to do something,” he said in a telephone interview.