It began with a gesture by the Capitals. The team announced that it was donating half of the 50/50 raffle at Capital One Arena, held during its 2-1 victory over the Penguins, to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. The funds would benefit victims and families of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill, where a shooting on Oct. 27 left 11 people dead and six wounded.
The jackpot grew to $38,570 during the night. A Capitals season-ticket holder claimed half of it with his winning ticket. But rather than pocket over $19,000, the fan decided to follow the Capitals and honor the victims too.
The team announced Thursday that the fan donated his portion of the winnings back to the pot, with the full amount raised by the raffle going to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh.
Amazing Story: Last night's 50/50 raffle winner, a #Caps Season Ticket Member, chose to waive their prize so @MSEFndn could donate the total $38,570 jackpot raised to @JewishFedPGH to benefit victims and families of the Tree of Life Synagogue in Squirrel Hill. #StrongerThanHate https://t.co/OhVSLqOvTT— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) November 8, 2018
The Penguins tweeted: "Some things are bigger than hockey."
"It's a check I could never cut myself. But I walked out of that arena $100 poorer, yet infinitely richer in spirit, knowing that we had helped some folks that needed help," the fan, who wished to remain anonymous to avoid being a distraction, told ESPN's Greg Wyshynski on Friday. "It was not my money. It was destined to go back."
The hockey community stepped up for the victims of the synagogue shooting in its aftermath. Along with the Capitals' fundraising, the Penguins donated $348,705 to the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh through donations from the team, fans and sponsors. The Penguins also donated $200,000 to the city's Public Safety Support Trust Fund to honor the police, fire, medic and public safety personnel who responded to the shooting.
"When the synagogue shooting happened, we had a long talk," the fan told Wyshynski about a conversation he had with his son, "about why anybody could hate somebody just because of where they go to church. Or where they're born. Or what color they are. Or who they're dating. There's just way too much of that. So it was just natural to help out those people."
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Kings honored the victims of the Thousand Oaks, California, shooting on Thursday night. They donated their 50/50 raffle proceeds to the Ventura County Family Foundation, with players vowing to match the funds.
The Kings and Minnesota Wild players also wore decals on their helmets that said "ENOUGH" and held signs with that slogan on the ice during a moment of silence before their game.