Just a day after it was revealed that Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson and his wife Melinda's son had died, the couple made a public statement... a very moving one. On social media, Karlsson was able to chose the right words to describe the most awful situation a family can go through. Here is his moving statement:
"At this extremely difficult time it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel but we know one day we'll get there. We would like to thank everyone for the love and support we have received and also for respecting our privacy and the process that we need to go through.
We feel very lucky to be Axel's parents. Even though he was stillborn, we know we will hold him again one day under different circumstances and the joy he gave us will be with us forever."
The couple announced they were expecting in November 2017. Karlsson had previously said the baby was due in mid-April, around the start of the NHL playoffs.
The 27-year-old star blue liner didn't suit up in the Senators' 7-2 loss to the Florida Panthers Tuesday night. The Senators issued the following statement regarding team captain Erik Karlsson and his wife, Melinda.
"The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son.
We ask that you respect the family's wishes for privacy during the grieving process."
After last night's game, his teammates and head coach Guy Boucher offered their condolences, as reported by CBC.
"Everybody is heartbroken, it's awful," Boucher said. "We definitely feel for Erik and his wife and his family.
"It's been a tough year but this is a real personal, devastating blow to them. We feel for them and Erik is going to take the time he needs to come back and once he does we'll do our best to support him. It's definitely a sad day."
"As expecting parents it hits a little deeper," Sens forward Zach Smith said. "I don't know what else to say. It's devastating and I just feel terrible for them. I just hope they're doing OK and we'll be here to support them."
This is the second time this season an NHL player loses a child. Carolina Hurricanes captain Jordan Staal and his wife revealed earlier this month that their infant daughter died of a terminal birth defect.
In the statement, the Staals say it had been "a longer road than most people know" and that they had "prayed for a miracle," but that Hannah was stillborn. They say they are "very thankful for our short time with her."
Now the tragedy has hit Karlsson, who was so excited to become a father. As many of you may recall, he was over the moon in the video that was posted of the reveal powder, when he jumped through the blue smoke and hugged his wife.
Our thoughts go out to the young couple. We hope they can find peace at this difficult time. Wishing the Karlsson family all the strength they need to get through this.