On April 7, 2018, Humboldt Broncos player Logan Boulet died from injuries sustained in the accident a day earlier that led to the deaths of 16 players and team staff. A defenceman with the team, he’d played 37 games that season, putting up 15 points throughout the campaign.
But it wouldn’t be his on-ice contributions that turned him into a positive symbol of the disaster.
Boulet, 19, had earlier told his parents Bernadine and Toby that he was registering as a organ donor, and if something were to happen, to follow the path of his mentor and former coach Ric Suggitt. Suggitt had passed away a year earlier, and his decision to support organ donation had resulted in six lives being saved.
As it turns out, that’s exactly how many lives Boulet would save as well.
And the world took notice.
In the days and months that followed, almost 150,000 people registered to become organ donors, a number that remains the highest number to sign on due to one event and one person. The sudden increase has become known as the “Logan Boulet Effect”.
It also led to the creation of Green Shirt Day on April 7 of every year, to “honour and remember and recognize the victims and families of that fatal crash and continue Logan’s legacy by inspiring Canadians to talk to their families and register as organ donors”, according to the website greenshirtday.ca.
In Saskatchewan, organ donation rates have almost doubled in the three years since, going from 14 deceased organ donations per year to 25 in 2020-21. That includes an increase each year since the accident.
“This is a hopeful sign for individuals and families awaiting a transplant,” said Saskatchewan Minister of Health Paul Merriman. “A lot of hard work has gone into raising awareness of the need for organ donation, and it is encouraging to see that translate into more donations.
Saskatchewan's organ and tissue donor registry — which now has more than 13,000 people signed up — is a key part of maintaining this momentum. I urge everyone to consider registering and expressing their willingness to donate, and possibly one day save a life.”
Those who wish to become organ donors are asked to first discuss your wishes with your family to make them aware of what to do in case the worst should happen. Anyone over 16 years of age can register at www.givelifesask.ca.
One organ donor can save up to eight lives through the donation of the heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, pancreas and intestines. One tissue donor can help 75 people, including corneas, skin, tendons, bone, nerves and heart valves
For more information on organ and tissue donation in Saskatchewan or to register as an organ donor, visit www.givelifesask.ca. For more on Boulet and the ongoing Green Shirt Day efforts, visit www.greenshirtday.ca.