Coaches generally aren’t in a rush to get off the ice following a practice; however, on Wednesday morning Bruins’ coach Claude Julien had an important phone call to make following his team’s skate in Boston.
Julien’s mother resides in Orleans, Ontario less than 12 miles from the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Ontario where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed.
Julien said his mother was blissfully unaware of the situation going on nearby when he called and advised she turn on the television.
The television will likely be on tonight in the Julien household as the Bruins are in Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs, one of three Canadian cities, which will partake in a simultaneous ceremony to honor Wednesday’s victim.
“I think its’ important and I certainly support the fact that they’re doing it,” said Julien. “I’m from Ottawa so it did hit home. I’ve seen it in Boston so it’s not the first time I’ve experienced those situations and it doesn’t get any easier.
“Its’ unfortunate and you hope we can, somehow down the road, make these things disappear. Obviously it is easier said than done, but I think it’s important to recognize our people for what they do and what they stand for. The soldier certainly didn’t deserve that.
With his team arriving in Toronto on Friday night, Julien had a chance to watch some Canadian news. The 54-year-old was visibly emotional talking about it following his team’s optional skate Saturday.
“Watching the news last night, seeing how people rallied around and stood by the 401 (Highway of Heroes) and the overpass, it was really touching,” he said. “I get shivers talking about it, but it just shows the solidarity of people that believe in their country and believe in standing together.”
The players don’t believe the pre-game ceremony will have an impact on how the game is played.
“I think emotions are going to be high obviously that’s something that everybody feels,” said Leafs defenseman Cody Franson. “Anytime something like this happens, I think it’s great that we’re doing something like this. It shows unity and I think everybody is really going to enjoy the process tonight.
“I don’t think it’s hard to focus. I think it’s something you feed off of. I don’t think it’s going to be distracting in any way, but it’s important to show respect.”
The plan is to have the Canadian anthem, which will be sung from Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre, played in both Toronto’s Air Canada Centre and Montreal’s Bell Centre along with a moment of silence prior to puck drop.