BOSTON -- The Bruins are expecting emotions to be running high on and off the ice on Wednesday night when they invite nearly 20,000 people into the TD Garden to watch their game with the Buffalo Sabres. It will be the first mass sporting event in Boston since the tragic Marathon Monday bombing, and there will be people showing a range of emotions: anger, pride, sadness, heartache and, perhaps more than anything else, a solemn defiance that nothing is going to ever keep the people of Boston down.
There will also be gestures both big and small from the Bruins. The organization, TD Garden, NHL and NHLPA will be donating a combined $250,000 to The One Fund Boston, whose purpose is to raise money to help those families most affected by the events of the Boston Marathon bombing. Jeremy Jacobs donated $100,000 on behalf of the Bruins organization, and TD Garden, NHL and NHLPA each donated $50,000 to make up the 250K.
“Our family has been touched by the heroic moments of so many individuals, and the strength and resiliency of the community to stand together in solidarity and support of those who were injured and those who lost their lives in this unimaginable tragedy,” said Jacobs. “On behalf of our entire family, we pledge our unwavering support to his community as the process of healing begins.”
In addition, there a number of things planned for tonight's evening of hockey:
- Bruins players and team staff have donated 80 tickets to the first responders on the scene that demonstrated so much bravery.
- The Bruins players will be wearing blue and yellow “Boston Strong” decals on their helmets, and members of the Bruins staff will be wearing blue and yellow “Boston Strong” ribbons in remembrance of those affected by the recent tragedy.
- The TD Garden will be illuminated by Blue and Yellow lighting, and prior to Rene Rancourt singing the National Anthem -- along with the Boston Fire Department Honor Guard -- there will be a “Boston Strong” video played on the jumbotron.
- The Boston Bruins Foundation and 50/50 raffle will be accepting donations throughout Wednesday night’s game, which will be given to One Fund Boston. There will also be an “8-Spoked Salute” honoring the first responders that will take place during the second intermission of the game.
Also, Brad Marchand will be raffling off his own personal suite for the team’s first home playoff game, with all proceeds to benefit the Richard Family of Dorchester, whose son Martin passed in Monday’s awful tragedy. The raffle is now live and fans can enter by visiting www.bruinsraffles.org, and the winners will also get a personal meeting with Marchand as well.
“Our whole team saw the photos of [Martin] and learned that he and his family are big fans of ours,” said Marchand. “This is just one small gesture which I hope can help the Richard family during this incredibly sad time for them. What they are going through is unimaginable and we will try to assist them in any way we can.”
The eyes of the world will be watching Boston, and watching the Bruins organization as they take the ice representing their city. The Bruins are ready for that kind of responsibility.
“It’s going to go on for a few days, weeks and possibly months. We all feel for the people that have been affected by this. It was a sad and emotional day for all of us,” said Zdeno Chara. “We just have to support each other. We can all play for each other, and maybe during these tough times, help people cheer.”
Every coach, every player on the Bruins and every member of their organization has endured the same last three days of horror as the fans filling the seats at TD Garden, and all will be sharing in the same strong emotions. Bruins players have the unique opportunity to play an inspiring brand of hockey, making fans smile while they show the rest of the world how strong their community is.
“We have the ability to help people heal and give them a reason to smile again by representing our city properly,” said coach Claude Julien. “We have an opportunity to make our city proud and we’re all in for it. Hopefully we can do that tonight. We’ve got a good group of guys here that we’re fortunate to have on our team that care a lot for what’s happened. There’s no doubt that it’s affected us individually, personally. Certainly would like to be a group that can do something that can really help this city get through it.
“At the end of the day, you want to make sure you do the right thing; and the right thing is to play the best game you can tonight. That’s important for us.”
There is no doubt about the level of emotions that will be coursing through everybody’s veins once things get going at the TD Garden tonight for the Boston Bruins. And there’s also little doubting how ready, willing and able the Bruins are to represent their city as they’ve done so unfailingly over the last several years.