The Oilers took the ice at Rexall Place for their game against the Washington Capitals with the tragic events of the day still very much on their minds.
“It’s a terrible day,” Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “I think it’s days like this where everyone is reminded of what is very important and maybe what’s not so important. I know we love this game and our town and we’re all passionate about it. But for me, and all of our organization and I know our city too, it’s one of those days where you just take a step back and remember what is very very important and, in the end, we’re playing a game here.”
In Ottawa, an armed attacker shot and fatally wounded a Canadian Forces member at the National War Memorial. It is an event that sticks out to the players on the Oilers roster, who were part of a team-building visit to a military base before the season.
“Honestly, that thought did kind of cross my mind,” Goalie Ben Scrivens said. “Normally I try to not think too much outside of just preparing for the game. But on a day like today, we had the honour of doing a little team-building with the Canadian Forces in October. To see what they go through day-in and day-out, I didn’t see the video but from what I saw on twitter it takes a special person to run towards gunfire.”
Scrivens continued, “We’ve got to have our hats off, not just tipped, we’ve got to have a lot of respect for our military and people that are putting themselves in harm’s way so that we can live our lives and do what we love to do. It’s a terrible thing what happened today. We have to make sure we have respect for our military and we have support for everybody, not just the family who lost somebody today but anybody who is going through PTSD or guys who are coming home from deployment. Those are the people who sometimes get forgotten.”
Captain Andrew Ference spoke of how the tragedy of today hits home.
“It’s not just today, but the last two days I think and in Quebec as well,” Ference said. “We were glued to the TV this morning, probably like most of the country. Those guys put themselves in pretty brave situations every day, it’s not just when they get deployed. Obviously, that was evident in the last two days. It makes you sick to your stomach. Obviously, a lot of us have gotten to know some of those guys. It makes it more personal I guess because you can picture it happening to guys here on the base. It’s just sickening that there’s people out there that would do that. Obviously, it’s a sad day for us and for the whole country.”
The Oilers held a moment of silence for Cpl. Nathan Cirillo prior to the start of the game.
“It’s a good reminder today to make sure that we have those men and women in our thoughts, our actions and making sure we’re doing everything we can to help them,” Scrivens said.