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Rivals Come Together to Honor, Praise Sandy Hook's Victims, Heroes

Schools, players and community honor victims of Sandy Hook shooting tragedy.

The ice on the rink was chippy and grooved after the match between Belmont and Wakefield girls Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 20. But rather then leave the ice for the Zamboni to lay a clean sheet at the Viglirolo Skating Rink for the next game, the girls joined their male counterparts in a moment of remembrance of a national horror. 

Brought together by long-time Belmont Boys' Head Coach Dante Muzzioli, intermission between the match-up of Middlesex League rivals became a unifying event for the students to honor the 26 victims of the school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that took place just five days earlier. 

"It is a great opportunity for the boys and girls to know that they are more than (hockey players)," said Muzzioli before the ceremony.

Members of both girls and boys teams grouped in a circle near center ice; 26 young women holding lit white candles and 26 boys with white balloons.

Speaking for the community, State Sen. Will Brownsberger told those on the ice and in the rink that "we dwell not on the horror and disgust that we feel as we contemplate the shrunken heart and twisted mind of the killer," or "the abject terror ... of the victim's final moments."

"But let us dwell in this moment of silence on the loving heroism of the unarmed women who flung themselves at the killer attempting to impede his progress and in their minds saving students" said the Belmont resident whose wife was a long-time teacher in town.

"And by their heroism, let us be inspired and take that encouragement from this place," he said. 

Belmont High School said Principal Dan Richards thanked his students for taking action signing a banner that will be sent to Newtown High School telling their compatriots "to remain strong and that we can overcome this tragedy." 

Belmont Boys' captain Jake Cole said both teams would dedicate their efforts in the game to the Sandy Hook victims.

The national anthem was sung, the balloons released, the candles were extinguished but the sentiment of hope and healing remains. 

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