Tragedy of mass shooting ‘hits home’ for prominent Nova Scotian athletes

The most effective Nova Scotian athletes in historical past wants only a single phrase to explain the present state of affairs in her province — “surreal.”

Six-time nationwide girls’s curling champion Colleen Jones, who’s a CBC reporter in Halifax, has been dwelling out the grim aftermath of Sunday’s killing rampage with fellow Nova Scotians at work and at residence.

“Seeing the quiet of the place and realizing the hell that occurred on the weekend — it is onerous to even envision it,” stated Jones, voted the province’s second-best athlete of all time behind Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby in 2017 by the Nova Scotia Sports activities Corridor of Fame.

“And the horror of a wolf in sheep’s clothes, that he had the planning and considered impersonating an RCMP officer is much more heartbreaking. That after all individuals would have opened their doorways or stopped their automotive in the event that they noticed him in his car. It is simply such a horrific factor in such an idyllic province. So many harmless individuals and the shattered lives that may’t grieve correctly in a conventional method [because of the COVID-19 pandemic].”

Whereas Jones has a first-hand have a look at a province making an attempt to come back to grips with no less than 19 lives misplaced, different outstanding Nova Scotian athletes can solely watch in shock from afar.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats receiver Brian Jones, a local of Enfield, N.S., now dwelling in Toronto, has been on the gasoline station and restaurant the place the rampage ended “numerous instances.”

The killing of the energetic shooter on Sunday in a group with a inhabitants of just below 5,000 capped a prolonged police chase that’s now the topic of worldwide headlines.

“It is simply onerous to place phrases collectively proper now, truthfully, to explain what’s occurred,” Jones stated. “It appears so random, so arbitrary. Proper the place the man ended up getting taken down is actually inside 10 minutes from my home the place I grew up. It type of places issues into perspective. It is a loopy, loopy, loopy, horrible time for lots of people proper now.”

Saskatchewan Roughriders kicker Brett Lauther is a local of Truro, N.S., simply down the freeway from the place the horror began in Portapique.

Colleen Jones, left, of Halifax, N.S., described the present feeling in her residence province as “surreal” following the weekend’s tragedy. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

Like Jones, an Acadia product, Lauther additionally performed his college soccer in his residence province at Saint Mary’s in Halifax.

“Clearly, simply fully heartbroken,” Lauther stated. “The entire space it type of lined was all the place I grew up. It began about 20-30 minutes north of Truro and went proper down previous it in direction of Enfield the place it ended. It is simply such a small, sturdy tight-knit group.

“… I’ve bought some loopy textual content messages on my telephone from my associates, household, RCMP, different officers, individuals I do know there. It could not have hit residence extra.

“There are not any phrases.”

Colleen Jones is dealing with the added problem of making an attempt to cowl a tragedy at residence as a veteran reporter.

“You do have to deal with it with excessive warning,” she stated. “These are uncharted instances for any reporter. No one has seen something like this in Canada earlier than and we’re in the course of a pandemic on prime of it. Individuals’s feelings even earlier than this have been excessive as a result of we’ve got lots of people who’ve misplaced jobs, we’ve got lots of people who cannot go to family members in senior properties, we’ve got the COVID-19 disaster in our long-term care properties. Individuals have been already fairly emotional. Now you add this unimaginable tragedy that has such big tentacles.”

Fellow roller Jennifer Baxter, the second for Mary-Anne Arsenault’s Nova Scotia champion group this season, is also seeing the information have an effect on her work. The Halifax resident is a useful resource studying centre instructor at a junior highschool.

“As lecturers, we’re positively involved about our college students,” she stated. “We have been involved about our college students with this complete virus and this simply provides one other layer to it.

“It is simply taking slightly little bit of time at the moment to attach with the individuals you need to join with and ensuring that the shock of all of it will not be as harsh because it might be, particularly realizing that we will not actually join in particular person.”

‘Unthinkable’

Different outstanding Nova Scotia athletes took to social media to specific their ideas. Crosby despatched out his condolences Tuesday on the twitter feed of his charitable basis. Heidi Stevenson, an RCMP officer who was killed within the taking pictures spree, was from Crosby’s residence city of Cole Harbour.

“I want to prolong my deepest condolences to the household of Heidi Stevenson of Cole Harbour, and to all of the households who’ve misplaced family members and have been affected by this horrible act,” Crosby stated.

“This tragic occasion has devastated communities all through Nova Scotia, however I do know we are going to come collectively and assist one another get by this. I’m pondering of everybody at residence.”

“Unthinkable, prayers to everybody affected by this mindless act,” tweeted Hockey Corridor of Fame defenceman Al MacInnis, a local of Inverness.

“Did not assume one thing this tragic might occur at residence,” Canadian girls’s hockey group ahead Blayre Turnbull of Stellarton wrote. “My coronary heart is with the households of everybody concerned.”

Resilience and humility

In the meantime, Schooner Sports activities and Leisure, the group making an attempt to deliver a CFL membership to Halifax, introduced it’s going to contribute the primary $1,000 towards any fund established to assist the victims’ households.

Colleen Jones thinks the resiliency of her province, which has handled a number of mining and fishing disasters together with the Halifax Explosion in 1917, will likely be on show within the weeks and months forward.

“It is a province the place Sidney Crosby can come and nonetheless store in Sobeys when he is right here for the summer season and no one bothers him,” Jones stated. “And Anne Murray can go golf at her golf course up on the Northumberland Strait and no one bothers her. As a result of I believe it is a province the place everyone does know everyone or two levels of separation.

“I believe there is a humility to the province drawn from onerous instances prior to now. It is a province that economically-speaking — it is all the time had a wrestle. So individuals serving to individuals is the one management you have bought in among the uncontrollable conditions. I believe all of us watched our grandmothers and grandfathers and moms and dads assist others and also you study by that instance.”

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