(photo: Andre Ringuette / Freestyle Photography/OSHC)
The Ottawa Senators and Toronto Maple Leafs honored the memory of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the soldier who was shot and killed a month ago while on guard at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, Canada. The two teams gathered at the War Memorial on Sunday, November 9th hours before their scheduled match-up in Ottawa to pay their respects.
On October 22nd, the day of the attack and Cpl. Cirillo, the Senators had a scheduled game against the Maple Leafs, but it was postponed after news of the tragedy hit. In the days following the shooting, the hockey community came together to show their support for Canada by coordinating the singing of “O, Canada” and including moments of silence to honor his memory and heroism prior to the start of games.
According to The Toronto Star, instead of having their usual morning skate, the players honored Cpl. Nathan Cirillo and all other armed forces with a moment of silence. The National War Memorial was closed off so that the Leafs and Senators could have a quiet, respectful ceremony without having to worry about being interrupted by fans. Dion Phaneuf, captain of the Leafs, and Senators’ captain, Erik Karlsson, laid wreaths around the monument in what Karlsson described on his Instagram page as an “emotional ceremony.”
The wreaths were adorned with a purple band across the center which read, “Lest we forget,” and underneath it, “N’oublions pas,” French for “let us not forget.” These are fitting words to describe the role that the Leafs and Senators – along with the rest of the hockey community – have played in helping with the healing process, coming out to show their respect and their support just two days before Remembrance Day.