The broken hockey stick that had adorned the front porch of Shannon Harvey-Renner’s South Surrey home since early April would have been worthless to anybody else.
But, placed as a tribute following the horrific crash involving a busload of junior hockey team players, it was priceless to Harvey-Renner.
“It was a symbol of my respect,” Harvey-Renner said Monday, hours after she discovered the stick – which she’d covered in green and yellow ribbons, the colours of the Humboldt Broncos – had been stolen.
“Out of respect for Humboldt and the tragedy they’re still dealing with.”
Sixteen people – most of them junior hockey players, including former Surrey Eagle Jaxon Joseph – died when a tractor-trailer collided with the Broncos’ bus on April 6, as the team headed toward a playoff game in Nipawin, Sask. Fourteen others were injured.
Harvey-Renner said she knew in the aftermath of the tragedy that she wanted to do something that felt meaningful, even though, while she used to watch her younger brother play hockey at White Rock’s Centennial Arena, she has no specific connection to the Humboldt team.
She chose the hockey-stick tribute after hearing about the #PutYourStickOut effort that caught on following one man’s text to a friend: a photo of a hockey stick by his front door, and the message, “Leaving it out on the porch tonight. The boys might need it… wherever they are.”
“I found it so moving,” Harvey-Renner said, choking up at the memory. “I just lost it – kind of like I’m losing it now.
“And then somebody steals it.”
Harvey-Renner said she got the stick, which had a broken blade, from a co-worker at the Township of Langley municipal hall. She took it home, wrapped it in the team-colour ribbons and put it on her porch, determined it would stay there for a full year.
It was stolen two months later, sometime between 10 p.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday.
“Seriously?” Harvey-Renner said in disgust.
“My eyes started to well up. That’s not funny. That’s totally disrespectful.”
Harvey-Renner said she isn’t going to call police – “It’s a broken hockey stick,” she said – but is hopeful whoever took the stick will see the error of the act and put the stick back where they found it.
If not, she will replace it herself. But the sting of the theft won’t soon fade.
“I find it upsetting,” she said. “It’s something like that, you just hope for the best in people. This was not the best in people.”