When Tom Jackson learned of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, his sat down in his dining room for six hours trying to figure out what he wanted to say.

“In a lot of ways this was for myself - I just wanted to write something down, how I was feeling. So I sat there into the night and Allison, my wife, never came and asked me what I was doing.”

Jackson, from One Arrow First Nation, near Batoche, is a renowned Canadian actor best known for his role as Chief Peter Kenidi in CBC’s North of 60. He has also taken his The Huron Carole fundraising concert on tour across the country.

“In my world we do spend a lot of time on the road and because part of Canadian history in my life - I’m going to turn 70 this year - I grew up watching Saturday night hockey.”

At the end of his writing session, he ended up with a poem and some music to go with it. Jackson recorded “Hockey Night in Heaven” in Calgary with members of country musician Brett Kissel’s band, had a friend in Montreal write some orchestral tracks, and then mixed the final version in his basement.

He uploaded the song to YouTube on Friday with pictures from the vigil taken by himself and Humboldt Mayor Rob Muench.

Jackson hopes the song comforts people and helps keep the memories of the victims alive, he said.

“Love is a very strong, powerful verb. It’s a nice noun, it’s a nice word, but it’s a better verb. And as long as we can cherish that envelopment, then we’ll be in a better world.”

tom jackson mug

Actor Tom Jackson. Rafal Wegiel photo