Ottawa Senators captain Erik Karlsson returned to action Saturday night, to face the Carolina Hurricanes, just five days after the tragic passing of his son Axel.
On Tuesday, the club made the tragic announcement that Karlsson and his wife Melinda's son had died. 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."
Karlsson was on the starting lineup and received a moving ovation from the local fans, and even from the opposite team as the Hurricanes players tapped their sticks on the ice in support for the Sens captain.
The Canes know a little too well what Karlsson is going through. 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."
Karlsson waved to the crowd, trying to remain neutral and keep the emotions in, but we bet there was not a dry eye in the place...
Hockey Night in Canada revealed at the start of the game, that Staal reached out to Karlsson after the tragic news.
Just a day after it was revealed that 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."