PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — One of the things that unites Pittsburghers is their sports teams. Cheering for the black and gold brings us together, pulling in one direction on game days for a touchdown, goal, home run, another victory.
KDKA’s Rich Walsh Reports —
So, when news of the tragic mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill reached Pittsburgh’s teams and athletes, it touched their hearts.
Many of them reacting on social media and even in pre-game interviews.
The Pittsburgh Penguins are getting ready for a game Saturday night in Vancouver against the Canucks. Head coach Mike Sullivan and captain Sidney Crosby spoke about the tragedy.
Sullivan said he first heard about it on the news, and said the team is standing with Pittsburgh.
“Before I take any questions, I just wanted to say on behalf of the Penguins organization, we just want to express our condolences and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the tragedy in Pittsburgh that took place today,” he said.
WATCH: Mike Sullivan’s Statement —
Crosby also said he’s thinking about the victims.
“We woke up to the terrible news this morning. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and families affected by what happened this morning. Knowing Pittsburgh, I know we’ll stick together and rally around them and be there to support and help in any way we can,” he said.
But Crosby also offered heartfelt words about Pittsburghers, their strength and how very lucky he feels to live in a place with such a great community.
“The biggest thing that stands out to me is just the people, the very proud people, proud of their city, proud to help in any way they can, whatever it is,” Crosby said. “A great community, a great city, and place that I feel pretty fortunate to be able to live.”
WATCH: Sidney Crosby’s Statement —
The Penguins issued this tweet to the community:
We are incredibly saddened to hear of this morning’s tragedy at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. We send our thoughts and prayers to all those affected.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) October 27, 2018
Defenseman Justin Schultz also tweeted to the city and fans: “Stay strong Pittsburgh.”
Deeply saddened to hear the news of the shooting in Pittsburgh this morning. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected. Stay strong Pittsburgh.
— Justin Schultz (@6Schultz6) October 27, 2018
Goaltender Matt Murray has also tweeted his support for the Pittsburgh community:
Love is stronger than hate and we won’t let this tragedy tear us down. My heart is with Pittsburgh. #StrongerThanHate
— Matt Murray (@mattmurray_30) October 28, 2018
Forward Daniel Sprong said on Twitter:
Deeply saddened to hear the news of the shooting in Pittsburgh this morning. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected. Stay strong Pittsburgh!!
— daniel sprong (@sprong97) October 27, 2018
Just prior to the game starting, the Canucks held a moment of silence for the victims and the City of Pittsburgh.
Vancouver is holding a moment of silence for today’s tragedy in Pittsburgh. Class move. -SK
— Pens Inside Scoop (@PensInsideScoop) October 28, 2018
— Penguins PR (@PenguinsPR) October 28, 2018
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The Pittsburgh Steelers, who play the Cleveland Browns Sunday at Heinz Field, are also heartbroken over the shooting. The team and many of the players, current and former, have been tweeting about tragedy.
The team offered this statement:
We send our thoughts and prayers to those affected by this morning’s tragedy in Pittsburgh. We will continue to pray for everyone involved.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) October 27, 2018
The team’s Director of Communications Burt Lauten says prior to Sunday’s game, the Steelers will hold a moment of silence to the victims and their families.
Prior to Sunday’s kickoff between the #Steelers & #Browns at Heinz Field, there will be a moment of silence for the victims & their families following the tragic attack in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill on Saturday morning.
— Burt Lauten (@SteelersPRBurt) October 27, 2018
And players like Antonio Brown, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Ryan Shazier and TJ Watt are offering their prayers. Steelers great Jerome Bettis also offered his condolences.
Prayers Up for Pittsburgh 🙏🏾
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) October 27, 2018
My prayers goes out to families of the victims, everyone in the city of Pittsburgh, and the Jewish-American community, I can’t believe the news. Stay strong 🙏🏾#PittsburghSynagogueShooting
— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) October 27, 2018
Praying for the congregations, the Pittsburgh communities, the Squirrel Hill neighborhood, the first responders and our leadership, as they find a way to come together and hold each other up during the horrific event that took place at Tree of Life this morning.
— Jerome Bettis (@JeromeBettis36) October 27, 2018
— TJ Watt (@_TJWatt) October 27, 2018
The Pitt Panthers football team is also playing this weekend; however, they said after the shooting, they were taking the field, “with the heaviest of hearts.”
— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) October 27, 2018
The Penn State football team also tweeted about the tragedy:
The Penn State Football family is incredibly saddened to hear of the tragic events that took place in Pittsburgh this morning. Our thoughts are with all of those affected.
— Penn State Football (@PennStateFball) October 27, 2018
The Robert Morris University men’s hockey team also held a moment of silence before their game Saturday night.
Before we begin, a moment of silence in support for those affected by today’s tragedy in Squirrel Hill.
As fellow Pittsburghers and as fellow human beings, we are with you. pic.twitter.com/mTqKuCqGcw
— RMU Men’s Hockey (@RMUMHockey) October 27, 2018
And, while the Pittsburgh Pirates season may have ended a few weeks ago, the team is still standing with the community.
Our hearts break at the news of this morning’s tragedy in the Squirrel Hill area of Pittsburgh. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those affected by this horrible event.
— Pirates (@Pirates) October 27, 2018
Pitcher Jameson Taillon said on Twitter his “heart seriously hurts for Pittsburgh.”
My heart seriously hurts for Pittsburgh and all of the innocent people that have been affected. #PittsburghStrong
— Jameson Taillon (@JTaillon19) October 27, 2018
Former Pirates and Pittsburgh resident Andrew McCutchen tweeted on Saturday night, “We will all mourn together, pray together and grow stronger together.”
I know this city well enough to know we will all mourn together, pray together and grow stronger together. To the victims and family of the victims, my deepest condolences. #PittsburghStrong
— andrew mccutchen (@TheCUTCH22) October 28, 2018
The entire baseball world pause for a moment prior to Game 4 of the World Series Saturday evening to observe a moment of silence for the victims at Dodger Stadium.
In addition to professional and college sports teams, the shooting has impacted the high school sports community. Pittsburgh Public School officials cancelled Saturday’s 2018 City League Football Championship due to the shooting.
We are deeply saddened by the tragedy that occurred this morning in the Squirrel Hill area of the City. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, as well as the Jewish members of our… https://t.co/q1RGi61a6T
— Dr. Anthony Hamlet (@PghSuptHamlet) October 27, 2018
Allderdice, which is located in Squirrel Hill, was set to play Westinghouse on Saturday afternoon at Cupples Stadium, but those plans were called off.
The school district says on Facebook that it has not yet rescheduled the game.