Hockey families support Humboldt crash victims with #putyoursticksout movement

After tragedy struck the hockey world last weekend, families in both Canada and the United States are honoring the lives lost in a show of united grief: they are leaving hockey sticks on their doorsteps.

On Friday, 10 junior hockey players from the Humboldt Broncos and five others, including two coaches, were killed when their bus collided with a tractor-trailer on their way to a game in Saskatchewan province.

Over the weekend, a wave of support for the victims, survivors, and their families began — everything from Niagara Falls to a doughnuts from famed Canadian coffee shop Tim Hortons sported the team's yellow and green colors.

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Families leave hockey sticks on doorsteps for Humboldt Broncos
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Families leave hockey sticks on doorsteps for Humboldt Broncos
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: Torontonians in the Beach area pay tribute to Humboldt victims with #PutYourStickOut displays. The Saskatchewan tragedy has prompted many to place a hockey stick on their front porch in honour of the players that were killed or injured in the bus crash. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: Torontonians in the Beach area pay tribute to Humboldt victims with #PutYourStickOut displays. The Saskatchewan tragedy has prompted many to place a hockey stick on their front porch in honour of the players that were killed or injured in the bus crash. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: Torontonians in the Beach area pay tribute to Humboldt victims with #PutYourStickOut displays. The Saskatchewan tragedy has prompted many to place a hockey stick on their front porch in honour of the players that were killed or injured in the bus crash. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: Torontonians in the Beach area pay tribute to Humboldt victims with #PutYourStickOut displays. The Saskatchewan tragedy has prompted many to place a hockey stick on their front porch in honour of the players that were killed or injured in the bus crash. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: Torontonians in the Beach area pay tribute to Humboldt victims with #PutYourStickOut displays. The Saskatchewan tragedy has prompted many to place a hockey stick on their front porch in honour of the players that were killed or injured in the bus crash. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: Torontonians in the Beach area pay tribute to Humboldt victims with #PutYourStickOut displays. The Saskatchewan tragedy has prompted many to place a hockey stick on their front porch in honour of the players that were killed or injured in the bus crash. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: Torontonians in the Beach area pay tribute to Humboldt victims with #PutYourStickOut displays. The Saskatchewan tragedy has prompted many to place a hockey stick on their front porch in honour of the players that were killed or injured in the bus crash. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: Torontonians in the Beach area pay tribute to Humboldt victims with #PutYourStickOut displays. The Saskatchewan tragedy has prompted many to place a hockey stick on their front porch in honour of the players that were killed or injured in the bus crash. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: Torontonians in the Beach area pay tribute to Humboldt victims with #PutYourStickOut displays. The Saskatchewan tragedy has prompted many to place a hockey stick on their front porch in honour of the players that were killed or injured in the bus crash. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: Torontonians in the Beach area pay tribute to Humboldt victims with #PutYourStickOut displays. The Saskatchewan tragedy has prompted many to place a hockey stick on their front porch in honour of the players that were killed or injured in the bus crash. (Richard Lautens/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: A round up of photos in the GTA of households putting hockey sticks out in support of Humboldt. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 10: A round up of photos in the GTA of households putting hockey sticks out in support of Humboldt. (Carlos Osorio/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
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On Instagram, posts using the hashtag #putoutyoursticks urged hockey fans and players to show their support and love by leaving hockey sticks out on their front doorsteps. Since the movement began, well over 21,000 posts have used the hashtag. Parents are posting the pictures of sticks on Facebook as well.

Hockey mom Mandi Glines, a first-grade teacher and mother of three from Maryland, told TODAY Parents her 14-year-old hockey playing son left his sticks out because, "Hockey is unlike any other sport. When something happens, it is felt by everyone who loves the game and is part of this big giant family, even if you have never met before."

Glines said that between her hockey-playing fiancé and her son, their family spends all year traveling and playing hockey. "We have made so many friends through this great game and we consider them family," she said.

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"Anything we can do to support and pay tribute to these boys and their families we want to do. This could have been any of our boys traveling to a game as we do every weekend," Glines said. "My son wanted to make sure that if one of his 'brothers' needed a stick up in heaven, he could find one on our porch."

Kristi Ashcroft, a Toronto mom of three hockey-playing boys, posted a picture of her sons' sticks on her social media accounts after her 11-year old, Jake, saw the posts on Instagram and suggested they do it too.

Related: Families, friends mourn the Humboldt Broncos: 

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Family, friends remember the Humboldt Broncos
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Family, friends remember the Humboldt Broncos
People look at photos of the victims during a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Mourners embrace each other during a moment of prayer at a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 07: The Arizona Coyotes and the Anaheim Ducks observe a moment of silence in honor of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team prior to a game at Gila River Arena on April 7, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)
A man wears a Humboldt Broncos shirt during a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman wipes tears from her eyes during a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Mourners embrace each other during a moment of prayer at a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
A musician plays as mourners gather during a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
People leave a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
People lay flowers during a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Mourners comfort each other during a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
A young man wipes away tears during a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Mourners attend a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Flowers lie at centre ice as people gather for a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
Pastor Sean Brandow speaks during a vigil at the Elgar Petersen Arena, home of the Humboldt Broncos, to honour the victims of a fatal bus accident, April 8, 2018 in Humboldt, Canada. Mourners in the tiny Canadian town of Humboldt, still struggling to make sense of a devastating tragedy, prepared Sunday for a prayer vigil to honor the victims of the truck-bus crash that killed 15 of their own and shook North American ice hockey. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / JONATHAN HAYWARD (Photo credit should read JONATHAN HAYWARD/AFP/Getty Images)
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"It's been hard to explain why this tragedy has touched so many people — and maybe especially hockey families — so deeply," Ashcroft told TODAY Parents. "I think so many in the hockey community see themselves in that team, either in the rear view mirror or up ahead."

Ashcroft's sons play for hockey teams in Toronto and look up to players like those involved in the crash. "Many of our boys' coaches played junior hockey at some point, billeting with families and riding buses to games," she said. "For a lot of kids in Canada who play hockey and still dream of making the NHL, junior hockey is part of the path to the dream. My heart just aches for those boys and those families."

The tragedy is hitting kids like her 10-year-old son Charlie especially hard, Ashcroft said. While lining the sticks up outside their front door last night, he told his mom, "They never got a chance to see if their dreams would come true. It's hard to imagine that."

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