OTTAWA – The Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs will stage a co-ordinated tribute Saturday night to honour the Canadian soldiers who lost their lives this week in the nation’s capital and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.
The tribute will be staged simultaneously before games at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, the Bell Centre in Montreal and Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
The teams also want to show appreciation for the men and women whose selfless actions stopped the attackers and aided the victims, the Senators said in a statement Friday.
Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was killed Wednesday at the National War Memorial when a gunman shot him in the back with a .30-30 Winchester lever-action rifle before storming into the Centre Block on Parliament Hill.
The gunman was later shot dead.
On Monday, Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent was killed and another soldier was injured when a man deliberately drove a car into them in the parking lot of a federal building near Montreal.
The driver fled the scene but was later shot dead after a pursuit.
“As we continue to reflect on the tragic circumstances surrounding the deaths of two (of) our country’s soldiers on Canadian soil, we do so with heavy hearts” said Senators owner Eugene Melnyk.
“But what doesn’t break us, makes us stronger. Today our country stands more united than ever and so does the entire NHL family. We are very pleased to join forces with the Montreal Canadiens and the Toronto Maple Leafs in co-ordinating a unique and special tribute prior (to) our games on Saturday in honour and recognition of these two brave soldiers, their families and all members of our Canadian military.”
The Senators are hosting the New Jersey Devils, the Canadiens will entertain the New York Rangers and the Maple Leafs are home to the Boston Bruins.
The Canadian Football League also unveiled tribute plans Friday.
A moment of silence will be observed before CFL games this weekend and all teams will wear a helmet decal that bears the logo of the Canadian Armed Forces.
“These are heartfelt gestures and yet they feel small when compared to the enormous sacrifice and bravery displayed constantly by the Canadian men and women in uniform who have always put their lives on the line, for our way of life and our freedoms,” CFL commissioner Mark Cohon said in a release.
“That these men were in harm’s way here at home deeply offends us all,” said Cohon.
“That they lost their lives so suddenly and so tragically shocks us all. And that their families and friends have been robbed of their company and comfort deeply saddens us all. Our teams want to express respect, appreciation and sympathies, on behalf of us all.”
The Ottawa Redblacks held an extended pre-game ceremony before hosting the Montreal Alouettes on Friday night.
© 2014 The Canadian Press