One night after terror attacks in Paris claimed the lives of over 120 people and injured over 300 more, NHL teams and players honored the victims and survivors with pregame ceremonies and symbolism on Saturday night.
Two of the most stirring tributes occurred in Montreal and Boston.
The Montreal Canadiens held a moment of silence before their game against the Colorado Avalanche, and then played “La Marseillaise,” the French national anthem, while the French flag was projected waving on the ice.
Fans held up their cell phone flashlights in the darkened arena, creating a star field.
In Boston, the Bruins also held a moment of silence followed by the anthem. Signs in the crowd referenced “#ParisStrong,” a spin on the “#BostonStrong” battle cry after terrorism struck the Boston Marathon.
Philadelphia Flyers forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare was emotional during the opening, as he was born and raised in Paris. His sister still lives there, but wasn’t in danger on Friday night.
“I called my sister; she was far away from there. That’s a good thing,” he said, adding he checked on his friends on their Facebook pages and found out there were not affected, “so it makes you feel kind of more relaxed about it.”
Bellemare, who last season became the ninth France-born player to reach the NHL, said he was “shocked” by the killings. “You don’t expect those things to happen. It’s terrible,” he said. “You just try to give your support to the people.”
Bellemare sang along with the anthem and had a French flag on his helmet.
There were tributes in all NHL arenas on Friday night.
The New Jersey Devils equipment staff stacked the team’s practice pucks in the shape of the Eiffel Tower before their game against the Pittsburgh Penguins:
As you saw in that brief clip, Jaromir Jagr of the Florida Panthers also showed the Paris victims were in his heart and mind through this tweet:
The NHL increased security measures at its games after the multiple-site terror attack, which included a bomb detonated at a soccer stadium.