Toronto Maple Leafs hold moment of silence for van-attack victims


The Toronto Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins held a moment of silence before Game 6 of their first-round playoff series to pay tribute to the victims of a van attack in Toronto that left 10 pedestrians dead and 15 injured on Monday.

The arena was darkened and images of the city were displayed on the videoboard. The public address announcer asked patrons to remove their hats.

“Earlier today,” he said, “our city was impacted by a horrific incident that claimed the lives of nine people and injured many others. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, the first responders and to all of those affected. All of Toronto is with you.”

Maple Leafs defenseman Ron Hainsey spoke to the crowd in a taped message saying, “On behalf of myself and my teammates, we’d like to send our deepest thoughts and sorrow to all the victims and the families, and the brave men and women first on the scene who do so much to keep everybody safe, thank you so much.

“Hold your loved ones tight. Give them an extra kiss ’cause I know I will, ’cause you just never know anymore.”

Leafs coach Mike Babcock said the team was saddened by news of the “senseless deaths” from Monday’s incident.

“We’re fortunate to live in such a fantastic city with great first responders, and the work they’ve done,” Babcock said during his postgame media availability. “But it’s so important that we rally around these people, help out and do whatever we can. We have a fantastic city. We can’t let this get in the way of what we’ve got going. Tragic to say the least.”

“We’re sending all our love,” said Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner, who scored the tiebreaking goal and added an assist in Toronto’s 3-1 win. “This is a big win for us after an emotional day.”

Five years ago, the Bruins and Leafs met in the first round of the playoffs two weeks after the Boston Marathon bombings occurred. Bombing victim Jeff Bauman served as the Bruins’ Game 2 banner captain.

Bruins center Patrice Bergeron recalled that, saying in a message displayed to the crowd, “I can guarantee you, the city of Boston is behind the city of Toronto right now.

“Unfortunately, Boston’s been through it in 2013 and same thing with my teammates. So my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this.”

The Toronto Blue Jays had the night off, but sent a message on Twitter:

The Toronto Raptors also posted a strong message of support and solidarity.

Speaking at a news conference Monday night, Toronto’s Chief of Police Mark Saunders raised the initial death toll of nine to 10, saying another victim had died at a hospital. He said 15 others were hospitalized.

A rented van had plowed down a crowded Toronto sidewalk Monday, causing injuries and deaths before fleeing. The driver was quickly arrested in a confrontation with police, Canadian authorities said. Witnesses said the driver was moving fast and appeared to be acting deliberately, but police officials would not comment on the cause or any possible motive.

Saunders identified the suspected driver detained after the incident as Alek Minassian, a 25-year-old from the Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill.

Authorities released few details in the case, saying the investigation was still underway, with witnesses being interviewed and surveillance video examined.

“I can assure the public all our available resources have been brought in to investigate this tragic situation,” Peter Yuen, deputy chief of Toronto Police Services, said.

The incident occurred as Cabinet ministers from the major industrial countries were gathered in Canada to discuss a range of international issues in the run-up to the G7 meeting near Quebec City in June.

Canada’s minister of public safety said it was too soon to say whether the incident is a case of international terrorism.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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