BOSTON (CBS) — Several Boston Bruins players, coaches and staff members visited Newtown, Conn., on Monday. It’s a town trying to find some normalcy after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December.
“We got word of it last week that we’d be going down to do that. They asked if anybody wanted to volunteer, and a bunch of people wanted to do it. There were a lot of volunteers,” Julien said. “There’s things sometimes that you have to do as an athlete or as a coach, and there’s things that you want to do. And that was something that we definitely wanted to do.”
Julien said that players played street hockey with local kids, signed autographs, posed for pictures and brought smiles to many faces.
“For us to be able to know that we’re able to give that kind of support and give them something to smile about and some hope was all we could ask for,” Julien said.
He said he was touched that the town gave the players Newtown jerseys, and his had the No. 12, which was Julien’s number with the Quebec Nordiques.
“I thought that was just awesome, for him to go out of his way like that to make sure he got it right,” Julien said of the Newtown hockey coach. “It just amazes me, the faith and the strength of those people over there and how they seem to be getting stronger as a community. The word ‘amazing’ just keeps coming to mind every time you see how strong they are.”
Coach Julien recalled his reaction upon first hearing about the news out of Newtown in December.
“I was no different than most people. I cried,” Julien said of his reaction. “It always hits home. So when that opportunity came, I didn’t want to miss it.”
On flying over Newtown on their way into town, Julien said, ‘We were looking around trying to see where the school was, and you see such a beautiful community and all you can do is wonder, why here?”
Though Julien said the visit was obviously emotional, he saw tremendous strength in the community.
“For us and for myself personally, it wasn’t just an opportunity but a privilege to go there and be able to put a smile on everybody’s face,” Julien said.
Here’s Bruins Coach Claude Julien, with WBZ NewsRadio’s Mary Blake.