A commemorative patch honoring the victims the Tree of Life Synagogue massacre is seen on the jersey of Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87)..
(photo credit: CHARLES LECLAIRE-USA TODAY SPORTS)
Hockey fans don't agree on much. Yet, after a touching tribute and a robust fundraising effort, sports fans across all aisles are uniting behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.
"After your organizations tremendous response to this weekend's horror, I will never be able to root against you with the pure and righteous anger that the Blueshirts/Pens rivalry engenders!" a self-proclaimed "diehard Rangers fan" wrote on Reddit.
Returning to Pittsburgh for the first time since Saturday's massacre
, the Pittsburgh Penguins commenced an array of honorary activities to lend support to the Squirrel Hill community.
The team wore special patches on their jerseys featuring the Penguins logo in front of a Star of David and a message that read, “Stronger Than Hate.” Each player signed their jerseys, and they are now being auctioned online to benefit the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
The donations will also support a fund for the police officers injured in the shooting. As fans have begun entering their bids online, the auction already promises to bring in more than $100,000.
Sidney Crosby, the team's captain, has the highest bid on his jersey, with a fan currently pledging $20,000.
The auction will stay open until November 13, but in the meantime the Penguins Foundation have already donated $50,000.
During the game, the Pens honored the 11 lost lives with 11 seconds of silence. Pittsburgh Police Chief Scott Schubert and responding officers Anthony Burke and Mike Smidga dropped the first puck after a video tribute played in the stadium.
In a show of solidarity, the New York Islanders who faced off against the Pens in the match also wore logos with the Stronger than Hate message on their helmets.
"Our hearts are with Pittsburgh. Please join in the effort to support victims and families of Saturday's tragic shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue," read the NY Islanders Twitter account with a link to the online fundraiser.
On Monday, the Pens hosted a blood drive and collected enough blood to save or impact 762 lives.
Another social media user commended the Pens for their fundraising efforts and tribute:
"I can’t begin to tell you how much this means to those of us in the Jewish community in Squirrel Hill. Thank you to the penguins and thank you Penguins fans for supporting it!"
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