When my wife and I planned the first live NHL game for us and our 11 yr old son, we had no idea it would be such an emotional rollercoaster.
We had our tickets to go and see the Boston Bruins host the Pittsburgh Penguins on April 19th, 2013 at the TD Garden.
The excitement starts to build near the trade deadline. The Pens steal Jarome Iginla from the Bruins, and also add Brendan Morrow and Douglas Murray. The Bruins counter by adding legend Jaromir Jagr.
This game is going to be awesome.
Then Sid gets his jaw broken. Oh well, at least we still have Malkin. Not so fast.
Patrice Bergeron gets concussed as does Brad Marchand, not looking good. (They would both recover in time for the game).
Then, on the Monday the week of the game, the Boston Marathon gets bombed, killing three and leaving several injured badly. The city of Boston is in peril.
But the terror would elevate greatly the day of the game.
That morning, we were in Portland and I had got up early to check the news.
One MIT campus policeman killed, One suspect dead and the 2nd suspect at large in the city.
The city gets locked down as the authorities try to apprehend the suspect.
At this point for us, the game is in jeopardy, but it clearly takes a backseat to our concern for the people of the city who had already been to hell and back through the week.
We watched the news through the day and by mid afternoon, with the suspect still at large, we knew the chance of the game being played was slim to none, and was confirmed by late afternoon as the NHL postponed the game until the next day at 1230pm.
But we knew that if the police did not catch the guy through the night, the game would not likely get played then either, but again, our concern was first and foremost with the residents of Boston and surrounding areas.
Finally that evening, some great news- "Captured." They got him. The threat to the city is over, and there are no more innocent casualties in the process of the arrest.
A couple hours later the Bruins confirm the game is on.
We drove down early the next morning to Boston and got to the TD Garden 3 and a half hours before the game.
We took pictures everywhere, inside and out. We met and chatted with many people, some local and some not, but all smiling and ready to be part of a historical sporting event in the city.
We were walking outside when we met Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference on his way into the rink. He stopped and took a picture with our son- who thought it was so cool that he had met a player who was on his NHL 13 Ultimate Team, that was pretty funny.
Then we get into the rink and the game is about to start.
First is a video tribute to the victims and the many law enforcement, military, first responders and doctors/nurses who had served the city so bravely the past few days.
To steal a quote from one the players- "if you had a dry eye during that, then you're not human."
Then the anthem.
Almost 18000 people belting out the Star Spangled Banner and then a USA chant.
Goosebumps coupled with a surge of energy and emotion.
The game itself was very enjoyable. Even though there was no Crosby or Malkin, we were still treated to great games from the likes of Jagr, Marchand, Bergeron, Seguin, Chara, Letang, Iginla and young rookie Beau Bennett as well as quality goaltending from both Rask and Vokoun.
The Pens would take the game 3-2, and in the process clinch 1st place in the Eastern Conference.
Its hard to describe the feelings we had during the experience, here we are Canadians singing the anthem and chanting USA as loud as everyone else.
That day, "We Are All Boston" took on a very powerful meaning for us and it is an experience that we will never, ever forget for many reasons including and beyond a hockey game.
If you would like to help the people most affected by the tragic events in Boston, please go to:
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