When the Blackhawks played the Philadelphia Flyers Thursday, most of the focus was on Jonathan Toews, who played his last ever game with the organization that he helped win three Stanley Cups.
Toews got several standing ovations, and he lifted the roof with a second-period goal. But on the other team, another player was saying farewell, not only to his team but to hockey.
Justin Braun, 36, skated a solo lap during warmups, and that’s when people realized this would be his last game. The Philadelphia Flyers have had a catastrophic season and were eliminated from playoff contention a long time ago.
With Braun sitting on 199 career points entering the final game of his career, the Flyers were trying to do everything to help him reach the 200-point mark. Braun, a veteran blue liner not known for his offensive skills, got time on the power play unit, but he didn’t manage to register a point.
Still, 199 points are not bad, and he skated for 842 games, most of them with the San Jose Sharks.
Braun was, understandingly, emotional after the game.
“Every guy I’ve played with, it’s been an absolute honor,” he said.
“It’s a tough day, but it was a great run.”
But the Flyers didn’t just put Braun on the power play unit; they made more heartwarming gestures for the D men’s final game. Braun had his family with him to Chicago, and with John Tortorella not being on the bench but instead upstairs with his assistant Darryl Williams–Braun’s father was on the bench.
The gesture from the Flyers was praised on social media, with fans saying it’s the ultimate proof why hockey’s the best sport in the world.
”What other professional sport comes close to genuine respect for players and the sacrifices their parents made? Thanks for sharing,” one user said.
Say what you want about John Tortorella, but this gesture was incredible!