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Family of NWHL player Laing issues statement

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

The National Women's Hockey League issued the following statement on Friday updating the condition of Boston Pride forward Denna Laing, who was injured while playing in the inaugural Outdoor Women's Classic on Dec. 31:

"Boston Pride forward Denna Laing suffered a significant spinal injury during last Friday’s Outdoor Women’s Classic at Gillette Stadium. Doctors continue to evaluate her status."

The NWHL also released the following statements on behalf of Denna Laing's family, NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, the Boston Bruins, the Montreal Canadiens and the New England Patriots:

Jerilyn and Dennis Laing: "Denna was thrilled to be taking part in the inaugural season of the National Women's Hockey League and was absolutely delighted to be one of the pioneers in a breakthrough moment for her sport -- the Outdoor Women's Classic. Tragically, Denna suffered a severe spinal cord injury playing the sport she loves. As of today, Denna has limited movement of her arms and no feeling in her legs. Our prayer going forward is that Denna can be moved from the Intensive Care Unit to a Rehabilitation Center and continue to fight every day with her trademark grit and resolve. With respect to her long-term prognosis, right now there are more questions than answers. We have received an incredible outpouring of love and support from countless friends and family members while we try to navigate this overwhelming situation. We are eternally grateful to everyone who continues to offer support as we take on this challenge together."

Dani Rylan, NWHL Commissioner: "The players, teams, coaches, management and staff of the National Women's Hockey League are united in their support of Denna Laing and her family. To reflect our admiration for her as a player and our appreciation for her contribution to the NWHL's first season, we are working with the Laings, our business partners and others to respond compassionately and appropriately to her injury. We will announce further details as soon as plans are formalized. Denna's drive to excel has inspired teammates and coaches alike; in honor of that attribute, I have directed our teams to wear a helmet sticker bearing her uniform number, 24."

Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner: "Everyone at the National Hockey League, including the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, joins Denna Laing's coaches, teammates, friends and fans in wishing Denna the very best as she confronts the challenges ahead. While we are certain Denna will be served well by the tenaciousness that is her trademark, we also will work with the Laing family to rally the support of the hockey family during Denna's rehabilitation.

"We have withheld comment to this point out of respect for the wishes of the Laing family and will continue to honor those wishes going forward."

Geoff Molson, Montreal Canadiens: "The entire Canadiens family, from ownership to management, staff and players, wishes to extend their very best to Denna through this hardship and lends its support to her and her family following this unfortunate injury. Our thoughts are with Denna, her family, friends and teammates."

Cam Neely, Boston Bruins: "On behalf of the Jacobs family I would like to extend the full support of the Boston Bruins to Denna and the Laing family. The New England hockey community is an incredibly strong group, and we know the assistance that will be provided to Denna and her family will be unwavering both in the immediate future and throughout the various stages of treatment."

The Kraft family, New England Patriots: "The Kraft family and entire Gillette Stadium community were deeply saddened to learn of the extent of Denna Laing’s injuries. Our prayers remain with Denna and her family in the hope that she will soon be able to transition to a rehabilitation center that will enable her to continue to improve. We will keep Denna and her family in our prayers throughout her rehabilitation process."

Denna's family and friends have set up a website, www.dennalaing.org, for anyone interested in following her progress and lending support.

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