This week, Bruins Daily remembers the one-year anniversary of the tragic events surrounding the Boston Marathon Bombings and hockey’s role of helping the healing process. In Part 1, we looked at the support across the National Hockey League after the Patriots’ Day tragedy. Today in Part 2 we look at the 48 hours after the tragedy and the Bruins-Sabres game.
Monday soon became Tuesday. The Bruins, as tough as it was, got back to work in preparation for their tilt with the Buffalo Sabres. But it was a lot more than just going over the X’s and O’s in a late season contest. They were gearing up to help heal a wounded city, fresh off a tragedy that shocked the world.
No words could have described what happened that horrendous day outside Copley Square. Some words, however, helped heal a city that’s often referred to as “The Hub.”
Those were the words coming from the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. A polarizing President who has taken heat from his policies from the right, and has also had his share of criticism from the middle and left. In Boston, a city that is as far left as they come in the United States, they, along with the folks from the right and the middle, came together as one two days later when Obama’s Air Force One landed in The Hub. At least for that moment, politics were put aside.
One day before Obama’s arrival, the Bruins and Sabres took the ice. The outcome of the game was also put aside so the Black and Gold and the team who often dies by the blade – as their fanbase likes to say – came together, again, for a moment that will last forever.
The night began with both teams coming on the ice. From there, a moment of silence montage was played that touched each of the 17,565 fans at TD Garden. As they continued to stand as one, Rene Rancourt took to the ice for his version of the Star Spangled Banner, this time without Garden organist Ron Poster accompanying him. After the first few lines, Rancourt, with the fans singing each word to accompany him, went from singer to maestro letting the sellout crowd play the role of Francis Scott Key for the rest of the national anthem.
Throughout the night, the typical “lets go Bruins” chant was replaced with “lets go Boston.” Despite the shootout loss to the Sabres, Causeway Street was smiling afterwards.
“I don’t think there were many dry eyes in the house, and as a player it was pretty tough to keep the emotions in check as far as not breaking down on the bench during the anthem. It made the hair stick up in the back of your neck,” Shawn Thornton said about that memorable Bruins-Sabers event. “It was very, very emotional. I thought everyone did a great job. With all the events that happened, I thought everyone kind of rallied in a great way that night.”
The Bruins and the sold out crowd came together in a big way that night. It was a small, but an important step towards the healing process in “The Hub.”
The night ended with both teams coming to center ice for a stick salute. It was truly a night to remember.
“It was agreed upon [by the two teams] and obviously we knew it was the right thing to do,” Thornton said about the Bruins and Sabres coming together at center ice. “At the end of the day [we] just play a game, and if it was a distraction for a few hours, then we’re happy to do that.”