Bruins visit Newtown, play street hockey with grieving children

Published On February 19, 2013 | By Hung Vong

The tragedy of Sandy Hook is still fresh in the minds of the community of Newtown, Conn. On Monday, Bruins players and coaches visited Newtown Youth Academy to help with the healing process.

Coaches conducted hockey clinics, and the players signed autographs and played street hockey with the young students there.

A mother named Erica, who brought her 10-year-old son Chris to the event, said she hoped the good intentions would help with the families who lost their children.

“I wish they could forget but they can’t,” she said. “Everything is going to take a long time. I don’t think you can ever forget something like this. I hope this is a chance for the brothers and sisters, especially, to feel good for a while.”

On Dec. 14, six teachers and 20 first-graders were fatally shot at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Natalie Hammond, one of the teachers who survived but was wounded in the ordeal, spoke to media members concerning the Bruins’ visit.

“It’s amazing, the fact that the Bruins have taken a day out of their busy schedule to be here with us and to make our community excited and fun and happy really means a lot,” Hammond said. “It’s really incredible.”

The Bruins came off a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday. Players were given Monday off to nurse their own aching bodies, but instead they showed their support for Newtown. Players and coaches filled Bruins’ owner Jeremy Jacobs’s private jet to the brim. The plane could only fit about 10 people, including players Chris Bourque, Andrew Ference, Dougie Hamilton, Daniel Paille, Adam McQuaid, Rich Peverley and Tyler Seguin.

On Tuesday morning, Bob Sweeney, executive director of the Bruins Foundation, sat down with WEEI to speak about the visit.

“That was pretty special,” said Sweeney.

“The community is not just sitting around grieving,” Sweeney said. “I’m sure there are some individual families [for] which it’s something that you might never get over, losing a young child at such a young age. It’s just unthinkable. It’s something that none of us ever want to go through. But I think everybody there, from the volunteers, they couldn’t have been more appreciative of us coming down and realizing the situation, what had taken place a few months ago.”

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