Fans arrive at the Air Canada Center for the Maple Leafs-Bruins game while Toronto police provide security. (Tom Szczerbowski / USA Today Sports)
Police implemented security measures around the Air Canada Center before Game 6 of the Toronto Maple Leafs-Boston Bruins Stanley Cup playoff series on Monday night. The steps, including road closures and additional security, were taken after an incident occurred on 19459009 when a rental truck exploded on a busy street in another part of Toronto, killing 10 and injuring 15.
Public safety minister Ralph Goodale said "there seems to be no national security connection to this particular incident," after a 25-year-old Ontario resident, Alek Minbadian, was arrested near the butcher's scene. The episode occurred at approximately 1:30 p.m., five and a half hours before Maple Leafs went to play a game at home that, if they lost, it would be their last showdown of the season. Toronto won the game, 3-1, pushing the series to a seventh game.
When the teams picked up the ice for Monday's game, they lined up when the arena went dark, and the fans were asked to join the players in a moment of silence for the victims of the "horrible incident." Before that, during a warm-up in skateboarding, Toronto defender Ron Hainsey said, on behalf of his teammates, that he wanted to send his "deepest pain and thoughts" to the victims and their families.
"Keep your loved ones tight, give them an extra kiss tonight, I know I will," Hainsey said. "You never know more."
The Maple Leafs said in a statement that they were "keeping all of those impacted by the incident tragic in Toronto in our thoughts and prayers. "Noting that his organization" continuously works closely with the Toronto police to ensure the safety of the fans in any case, the team said the authorities would implement "a series of Additional measures "around the sand.
For our city, our people and all those affected by today's tragic events, our thoughts and prayers are with you.
– Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 23, 2018
Despite additional security, Devin Heroux of CBC News reported that Maple Leaf Square was "full" one hour before the game. He added that the crowd was already "frazzled by the frenzy", according to the status of Toronto as a city crazy for hockey.
The Maple Leafs dropped by 3-1 in the best-of-seven series against the Bruins, but Toronto won Game 5 in Boston to force Monday's competition. Now, Game 7 will be in Boston on Wednesday night.
Air Canada Center will also host an NBA tiebreaker on Wednesday between the Toronto Raptors and the Washington Wizards. According to reports, the police have not yet announced whether additional security measures will be implemented for that event.
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