The stadium was quiet. The fans knew there would be a tribute. They waited patiently in silence until a lone Philadelphia fan let out an audible scream:
The Wells Fargo Center erupted into claps and cheers that sent chills down people’s spines. The jumbotron lit up with scenes from the past week’s events in Boston. With each subsequent picture, the crowd showed their appreciation to the men and women who put their lives on the line to help a city ravaged by the cruel acts of two cowards. Video below courtesy of The700Level.com:
After belting out God Bless America with Kate Smith, Lauren Hart repeated one phrase twice:
“BOSTON STRONG! BOSTON STRONG!”
There aren’t many times when a hockey game turns into something more, but tonight was an exception. Philadelphia and Boston have always shared similarities. Both are tough cities. Both bleed their local team’s colors. Both cities are made up hard-working, blue collar folk. And, as was shown last night, both cities share the same passion, camaraderie, emotion, and perseverance. The score ended up being 5-2 in favor of the Flyers, but the game left an indelible mark on the people who attended and the citizens back in Beantown.
Each game, the Flyers hold a 50/50 raffle. The idea has become a mainstay in many NHL arenas. On Monday, the Flyers agreed to donate the “charitable portion of the money collected through the Flyers 50/50 raffle” to onefundboston.org.
I’ve only been to a few games this year and the number is usually anywhere between $40,000 and $50,000 a game. Last night the number peaked at $85,595, of which $42,797.50 will be donated to the Boston fund. The total number was a single season record for money raised during the raffle.
The Flyers weren’t done yet. After the game, Randy Miller of the Courier Post was asked to pick the 3 stars. Normally they are players who impacted a game. The stars in the Flyers/Bruins game weren’t players at all:
#3 – Boston Police
#2 – Boston First Responders
#1 – City of Boston
A classy way to send out support to our city to the north, if you ask me.
Claude Julien had this to say about Philadelphia’s outpouring support for Boston: “I’ll tell you what, appreciative and touching. I thought it showed a lot of class. All the support we’ve had, we have appreciated and what happened tonight was another great gesture from a rival that went beyond the sport and the rivalry that exists between the two teams and showed support for another city. I thought it was great.”
Peter Laviolette, the Flyers coach, was born and raised in the city of Boston. He holds the town near and dear to his heart, so the past week has been a whirlwind of emotion for him.
“The whole thing I thought was really one of those moments that grabbed you,” began Laviolette when asked about the pre-game tribute. “I had goosebumps the whole time the video went off. To hear the Philadelphia fans as passionate as they are about the city of Philadelphia and Philadelphia sports, start yelling for Boston as they videos going on, that was touching as well.
Laviolette continued, “I don’t think it’s just a Boston thing or the Boston people rallying around. I really think it’s one of those moments in time that gets captured by a country or gets captured by our world and it’s bigger than the city itself.”
Sports transcend people, culture, towns, cities, and communities. If there is one thing to take away from all of this, it’s this:
Philadelphia is Boston Strong!
To make a donation to The One Fund, please log onto their website. Over $20 million dollars has already been donated.
Follow Shawn Reznik on Twitter: @ShawnTHW