BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets sent a message of unity Thursday night, linking arms and forming a circle during the American and Canadian national anthems ahead of their exhibition game in Toronto.
It was quite the visual considering the two teams engaged in a heated postseason battle just 15 months ago. But their message was simple: There is no place in the world for racism.
In a statement earlier this week, the Bruins indicated that they would lock arms during the anthems to support the Black Lives Matter movement.
“As a team we have decided to lock arms during the playing of the United States and Canadian Anthems as a sign of solidarity with the Black community,” the statement read. “This action is solely intended to be a positive sign of support for the Black community, and a way for us to use our platform to help end racism.”
Boston’s Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand expanded on the team’s intentions ahead of Thursday night’s game.
“It’s to show unity and show support and basically we want to continue the conversation,” Bergeron said. “Ultimately, we’re against any form of racism whether it’s in hockey or life.”
“We need to be a part of the solution, and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Marchand. “We’re all on the same page. We don’t stand for racism.”
Though the moment was a very serious and powerful one, it did provide a somewhat amusing visual — or a moment of unintentional comedy if you will — with Bruins captain Zdeno Chara (who is 6-foot-9 and stands over seven feet with skates on) standing next to Blue Jackets forward Nathan Gerbe, who is 5-foot-4. With Cam Atkinson (5-foot-8) on Chara’s right and Gerbe on his left, it looked a bit uneven in the circle of players.
The jokesters on Twitter had some fun with the visual.
when you bring your older bro to the movies so you can go see scary movie 2 pic.twitter.com/7hsyaNVYrs
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) July 30, 2020
“Dad, can we go out for pizza after the game?” pic.twitter.com/iGLrfL3u3r
— Ted Starkey (@TedStarkey) July 30, 2020
I thought the pandemic would put an end to young kids getting to take part in pregame intros but here we are pic.twitter.com/8THyPZgaKV
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) July 30, 2020
Gerbe and Atkinson look like Chara's kids before the Allstar game 😂😂😂 https://t.co/5gyEPNLB39
— Dude Where's Makar (@joelthesakic) July 30, 2020
With the NHL set to resume action this weekend, the NBA tipped off its restarted season Thursday night. Ahead of both NBA contests Thursday evening, all players and coaches linked arms and took a knee during the national anthem.