Before the Boston Bruins played the Buffalo Sabres last night, the sold-out Beantown crowd channeled all its hometown pride in the wake of Monday’s disaster and let loose a great rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.
Before the anthem there was a tribute video to the victims and first-responders that already had most of the crowd on its feet and even the players backed off their usual spots along the bluelines for a better view of it.
“It was extremely emotional. I was definitely fighting back tears,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand. “It’s something that we’ll never forget. For everyone to show their respect and obviously give their thoughts and prayers for everyone, it’s great that everyone is kind of coming together at this time and helping each other out.”
While Bruins players and staff collected and gave out 80 game tickets to first responders, Marchand raffled off his own suite for the team’s first playoff game, with the proceeds to go to the family of 8-year-old bombing victim Martin Richards.
While obviously under vastly different circumstances, the Bruins fans’ rendition automatically gains entry into the hockey pantheon of goosebump-inducing crowd sing-alongs.
It probably started earlier, but the benchmark for many is Oiler fans singing ahead of playoff game against Anaheim in 2006.
Then during the 2011 playoffs, Vancouver Canucks fans joined the list by singing loud and proud.
But neither of these had the cloud of gravitas that has hovered over Boston. The Bruins won 3-2 but, as Bruin Chris Kelley said after, that was probably the least memorable part of the game. “I am sure the score will be the last thing I think about in 10 years,” he said. “We wanted to win the hockey game for the city and ourselves. We had a chance to do something — it might be a small thing, but something — that would put a smile on a few peoples’ faces. That’s the reason why all of us wanted to go out there and win.”