Denna Laing (center) with her Boston Pride teammates (via Liz Maxim McDonald/Facebook)
Denna Laing took the ice Sunday with her Boston Pride teammates for the first time since her severe spinal injury. The Pride celebrated ‘Denna Day’ in honor of their injured teammate, and proceeds from fundraising efforts at the game went to the Denna Laing Fund.
For the first time since her tragic injury, Denna Laing was back out on ice with her Boston Pride teammates to help the club celebrate ‘Denna Day’ on their final home game of the season.
Laing made a special appearance at Sunday’s game between the Pride and Connecticut Whale, and the home crowd was delighted at the sight of Laing, 24, out on the ice with her teammates. Though Laing has remained in touch with fans throughout her recovery process through social media, she hadn’t made a public appearance since suffering the spinal injury that has left her with limited movement in her arms and no movement of her legs.
Before the game began, Laing joined her Pride teammates at center ice for a team photo and she even took to the crease pre-game with teammates to help rally the troops before the game.
All fans in attendance were encouraged to wear yellow to support both the Pride and Laing. And to help Laing in her recover, the Pride hosted a silent auction, 50/50, chuck-a-puck and made Laing shirts and bracelets available to fans with all proceeds going to the Denna Laing Fund.
“She's an incredibly, remarkably strong individual,” Pride winger and NWHL leading scorer Hilary Knight told NESN Friday. “I absolutely love the way our team has rallied around her, and hockey in general, both the men’s side and the women’s side. It’s really stepped up and supported her.”
Laing, who told CBS Boston’s Paul Burton that she’s “fighting hard every single day,” said her road to recovery hasn’t always been easy, but that she tries to keep a positive attitude.
“I just want to thank everyone for the support,” Laing told Burton. “It means so much.”
The Pride, with Laing watching, went on to defeat the Whale 4-2, overtaking Connecticut for first place in the league. The Pride and Whale will meet again Feb. 21, and a Boston regulation victory would ensure the Pride win the inaugural NWHL regular season title.