GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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April 18, 2013

Boston fans mourn, then cheer as sports return

BOSTON (AP) — Emerging from a moment of silence with a deafening cheer, fans at Wednesday night’s Bruins game paid tribute to the victims of this week’s Boston Marathon bombing with a stirring national anthem and a thunderous chant of “U.S.A.!”

The sold-out crowd at the first major sporting event in the city since Monday’s attack lined up for metal-detecting wands and random car inspections to get into the TD Garden. Once inside, they watched a somber video with scenes from the race, ending with the words, “We are Boston, We are Strong.”

The players on the ice for the opening faceoff banged their sticks in the traditional hockey salute, drifting back off the blue lines so that they, too, could see the video. The Boston Fire Department Honor Guard brought out the U.S. flag to honor the first responders who rushed to the aid of the three killed and more than 170 injured by the twin bombs at the marathon finish line.

Longtime Boston Garden troubadour Rene Rancourt took his place for the “Star-Spangled Banner.” But he sang only the first few lines, allowing the crowd to carry the tune while he pumped his fist to keep time.

It was an emotional return to normal life for the city, which has been dazed by the attacks on one of its signature and most beloved events. Monday’s scheduled Bruins game against Ottawa was rescheduled, and Tuesday night’s Celtics game was canceled outright.

But the Bruins said they were determined to help the city move on. The Bruins lost the game, 3-2.

“You’re trying to live your life in peace, and there’s people trying to disrupt that,” coach Claude Julien said after the team’s morning skate. “The people trying to live their life in peace are going to stick together.”

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