Boston Bruins fan and Boston Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman came out onto the ice on a red carpet before Saturday's Game 2 playoff clash against the Toronto Maple Leafs to serve as the Bruins' banner captain.
The home crowd at TD Garden erupted with thunderous cheers as Bauman was announced and took the ice, and when he waved the flag, it only did more to enhance the atmosphere.
According to Joe McDonald of ESPN Boston, Bauman was a critical contributor in the effort to track down the two bombing suspects. McDonald's report also documents what Bauman had to say to the fans in a statement released by the team:
I want to thank everyone for their amazing support for me and all those injured and their families. I’m making great progress and I thank everyone for their thoughts and prayers. Please continue to respect our space at this time. I want to thank the Bruins players and organization for the generosity and support for all those impacted. Like all those in Black and Gold, I can’t wait to see them on another quest for the Cup. Go Bruins!
Making Bauman a banner captain was a touching gesture, as the Bruins continue to pay tribute to those involved in and affected by the tragic bombings that took place during the city's annual, world-renowned marathon.
As McDonald points out, the Bruins gave the honorary distinction to four law enforcement officials in the first game of the series: Todd Brown (Boston Police bomb technician), Sean Tierney (Cambridge Police bomb technician), Eric Gahagan (Mass. State Police bomb technician) and Ariane Thibodeau (Transit Police bomb technician).
The terrorist attack on April 15 caused Bauman to lose both of his legs and devastated numerous other people.
But this special occasion for Bauman continues to show how Boston remains strong and resilient after experiencing such a terrifying event. It was not only the perfect time to honor those most affected by the attack, but it was also a unique occasion considering Bauman's status as a hero in the suspect investigation.
After a dominant 4-1 victory in Game 1, this second matchup is proving to be a little bit more difficult for the Bruins.
The Leafs tied up the game at one apiece 5:18 into the second period, answering a goal not long after the first intermission by Boston right winger Nathan Horton.