Flyers to honor Boston at Tuesday's Bruins game

Flyers to honor Boston at Tuesday's Bruins game

April 22, 2013, 3:15 pm
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If sports truly is a catharsis, then wherever the Boston Bruins travel in the immediate days and weeks ahead, they will relive the anguish of last week’s Boston Marathon tragedy.
 
NHL clubs will be "Boston Strong," honoring the fallen heroes of that day, the injured, and most of all, the people of Boston, themselves.
 
On Tuesday, the Flyers will pay homage before, during and after their game against the Bruins.
 
It’s a scenario expected to be repeated in the playoffs, as well, as a reminder that America stands together off the ice.
 
“We have all seen what Boston has gone through and how they all rallied together,” club president Peter Luukko said. “As someone from New England, I know how much pride that city has. We too have been moved by what we saw last week in Boston and wanted to do our part.”
 
In what was already a helter-skelter grind of 48 games, the Bruins, deadlocked with Montreal in points (59) yet holding down the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, finish the season with six games in nine days.
 
The ceremonies give them something else to focus on.
 
“You watch those ceremonies … I saw a little bit of the [Bruins] one but I did see the Red Sox one and they really hit home,” said Flyers coach Peter Laviolette, who grew up in Franklin, Mass. "They touch Americans and people across the world from what happened. Now that it is over and behind, players have always done a good job regardless of why a game is stopped at the beginning or a ceremony takes place.
 
“When the puck drops, it’s back to business, but [this is] recognition of what has happened and the events that have taken place.”
 
The Flyers will greet the Bruins with “Boston Strong” patches and stickers on their helmets and a variety of events to honor the city and the memories of another terroristic attack on our soil.
 
“I’ve been up and down that street [Boylston Street] hundreds of times and can picture the whole block, been to the race before, so I know what it means to the city,” said Mike Knuble, himself a former Bruin. “I know exactly what it means. I have a very good visual idea of where it all took place. That city is happy it’s over. Semi-closure, a bit. Try to move on and recover.”
 
Monies collected from the Flyers’ 50/50 raffle will go to onefundboston.org. That’s the charitable portion from the club  – not the portion that goes the fan who wins the split.

At the game’s conclusion, every Flyers player’s jersey will be available for auction with proceeds also benefitting onefundboston.org at meigray.com.
 
“It’s a big tragedy what happened there,” Jakub Voracek said. “As long as we can show support, it’s good. There’s a lot of stuff in Boston going on.”
 
Asked whether it ever occurred to him that something like what happened at the marathon cold occur during a hockey game, Voracek admitted he never once considered that.
 
“There’s a lot of f------up people in this world – it’s true. Why would you go and bomb a marathon? Jesus Christ. It’s ridiculous the way some people are raised and are acting. I still think there are more good people than bad people, which is a good thing.”
 
There are also pregame ceremonies with members of the Philadelphia Police Department and Fire Department that will include a tribute video and performance of  “God Bless America.”
 
“You don’t have to be from Boston to have it affect you,” Laviolette said. “I haven’t been back to Boston in a long time, I grew up there, my family is there. You could talk to somebody who lives in New Hampshire or lives in Philadelphia and it affects you the same way. It’s just a tragic event.”
 
Flyers captain Claude Giroux said it was important for the league to honor Boston as a city.
 
“It’s good to see the NHL get together,” Giroux said. “Any time you can support something like that, you do. Boston is a great city.”
 
Other tributes include recognition of Temple Podiatry students who were on site at the Boston Marathon lending their services.
 
Knuble said players probably need to have a plan in mind if something like this every happens at an NHL game where their families are in attendance.
 
“That was the first time a sporting event has been attacked,” Knuble said. “That’s scary. As a player, I guess there are evacuation plans in place. At a home game, players have their wives and kids in the stands. It probably would be smart as a player to have a backup plan with your wife if something happens.
 
“A rendezvous or something. I guess that makes guys think about it. Twenty-thousand people trying to get out of an arena, at once. You have to stick together.”
 
Knuble added these ceremonies could actually become a “rallying point” for the Bruins in the final week to help the city recover, emotionally.
 
“The other team will look at them for relief and a chance to be distracted,” Knuble said. “The Red Sox, the Celtics … Teams are great distractions. It gives everybody something else to look at and think about instead of driving around the city and see streets barricaded and emergency vehicles. Sports plays a big role in recovery.”

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