What's buzzing:

Buzzing The Net

Hockey helps healing in Lac-Megantic; more than $100,000 raised during QMJHL game

Neate Sager
Buzzing The Net

Lac-Mégantic, Que., has started to fade from national headlines since the train derailment on July 6 that caused 47 deaths and gutted the community's downtown. It's absolutely incomprehensible to process what it must be like for a town of 6,000 people that prided itself on being a popular tourist town to have such devastation now be part of its daily reality.

It won't heal everything, but last weekend the Sherbrooke Phoenix and Victoriaville Tigres played a QMJHL preseason game at Lac-Mégantic's two-year-old arena. At the end of the game, the players gave a special salute to the crowd of 1,149 in the hard-hit town.

Meantime, Phoenix president Denis Bourque, who's also a Tim Hortons franchisee in the Eastern Townships, managed to quickly throw together a $104,000 donation for the Quebec wing of the Canadian Red Cross, which has been part of the recovery effort. It's all part of trying to feel normal.

From John Edwards:

The game itself, a pedestrian affair won 3-1 by Victoriaville, mattered less than the fact that it was taking place at all, the first major sporting event in Lac-Mégantic since the train derailment seven weeks ago that decimated the town centre and killed 47.

“Hockey here is in our blood,” said [Louis] Longchamps [the game's organizer]. “Every Friday night there is a senior hockey game or a junior hockey game here. So when you look at this, it’s a way of going back to normal.”

“The people of Megantic are strong. They’re amazing,” said Denis Bourque, the Phoenix [team] president. “They need to know that we’re there [for them], that the people of Quebec are close to them.”

Indeed, the game’s highlight came prior to the opening faceoff, as Bourque, who is the franchisee for Tim Hortons locations in Sherbrooke and Lac-Mégantic, surprised the crowd by announcing a donation of $104,355.63 for the Canadian Red Cross (Quebec Section) by the restaurant chain.

... Bourque was quick to pay tribute to his staff at the Tim Hortons in Lac-Mégantic. “The girls who work for me here, they still work with smiles. Even the week when the tragedy happened, they still worked with courage,” he stated. (Sherbrooke Record)

True, perhaps this is all symbolic, but it's important symbolism. The arena complex in Lac-Mégantic is only two years old, so presumably its planning and completion inspired a great sense of accomplishment. Small towns need those facilities as a magnet to convince people the town is a good place to live; with help from the two QMJHL teams, Lac-Mégantic showed it is bouncing back in spirit.

Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports. Follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet. Please address any questions, comments or concerns to btnblog@yahoo.ca.

View Comments (2)
  • LeBron, Cavaliers earn NBA Finals spot by sweeping Hawks

    LeBron, Cavaliers earn NBA Finals spot by sweeping Hawks

    The championship LeBron James craves more than any other, the one he came back home to get, is within reach. The Cavaliers are in the NBA Finals. James scored 23 points, Kyrie Irving provided a boost after missing two games and Cleveland reserved … More »

    AP - Sports - 3 minutes 24 seconds ago
  • All Blacks retain Savea, Retallick through 2019 World Cup

    All Blacks retain Savea, Retallick through 2019 World Cup

    Reigning World Rugby Player of the Year Brodie Retallick and free-scoring winger Julian Savea have committed to playing in New Zealand until after the 2019 World Cup, New Zealand Rugby (NZR) announced on Wednesday. NZR chief Steve Tew described the … More »

    Reuters - 6 minutes ago
  • Cassels, Lindberg goals lift unbeaten Oshawa Generals 2-1 over Rockets

    The Oshawa Generals have earned a spot in the Mastercard Memorial Cup final, but there was a hairy moment before it became official. Leading by one goal with 4:24 left to play, one of their top penalty-killing defenceman, Dakota Mermis, was sent … More »

    The Canadian Press - 7 minutes ago
  • NBA play-offs semifinal result

    May 27 (Infostrada Sports) - Result from the NBA Play-offs Semifinal match between Cleveland and Atlanta on Tuesday (home team in CAPS) 1 2 3 4 T CLEVELAND 32 27 26 33 118 Atlanta 20 22 18 28 88 (Cleveland win the best-of-seven series by 4-0) … More »

    Reuters - 8 minutes ago
  • Australia's Ashes task harder after Bayliss appointment

    Australia's Ashes task harder after Bayliss appointment

    By Nick Mulvenney SYDNEY (Reuters) - There was general consensus in Australia on Wednesday that retaining the Ashes this year got a little bit harder after the appointment of wily compatriot Trevor Bayliss as England's new head coach. While former … More »

    Reuters - 9 minutes ago