Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle, a Boston-area native, made headlines when he took the ice for warmups Saturday in a jersey honoring Martin Richard, the 8-year-old victim of last week’s marathon bombings.
The jersey, a standard Coyotes road sweater, featured “Martin Richard” on the nameplate in place of “Yandle” as well as No. 8 instead of Yandle’s usual No. 3. Yandle noted that his wife, Kristyn, was raised in the same Dorcester neighborhood as Richard and that his in-laws knew Richard due to the “tight-knit” nature of the neighborhood, which had him searching for a way to show support for the family.
But after initially planning to have the Coyotes auction off the jersey and donate the funds to the family, there was a change of plans Monday, according to Yahoo Sports’ Nik Cotsonika. The family reached out and requested the jersey — and not the money — as a keepsake, something Yandle said was “even better.”
According to Cotsonika, Yandle hopes to travel to Boston after the season — along with his wife’s uncle Sean O’Brien, a Boston firefighter, and O’Brien’s daughter Ava, a classmate and friend of Richard’s — to deliver the jersey in person.
“It’ll be tough,” Yandle told Yahoo Sports. “But it’ll be something they wanted, and it will be special giving it to them.”
O’Brien told Cotsonika that he intends to join Yandle for the meeting this summer and that the gesture is entirely “from the heart.”
“He wants to do something for the family,” O’Brien said. “He doesn’t want to throw money at it. He wants to do something that will last.”
Since the bombings, Yandle, who grew up in Milton and both attended and worked at the Boston Marathon as a teenager, has played with “Pray for Boston” written on his skate.