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The Tampa Bay Lightning picked up a big win on Saturday night when they triumphed over the Los Angeles Kings by a score of 5-2, but unbeknownst to most outside of the Tampa Bay locker room was the fact that this game carried a great deal more weight for Lightning veteran Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.
Following the conclusion of the game Bellemare would speak to reporters about his solid performance in the contest, but it would prove to be one of the final questions from the reporters around him that would spark a heartbreaking revelation. When Bellemare was asked what he had learned about himself, playing well before an extended break for the Lightning, Bellemare suddenly became very emotional.
As he choked back tears Bellemare revealed that his mother had recently passed away but that in spite of losing his mom he had continued to play through the emotional turmoil in the hopes of finishing strong before the break. Bellemare answered the question by indicating that he believes his mother would be proud of his performance recently, and considering he picked up a big goal in the win against the Kings in spite of the incredible burden he was carrying, I am inclined to agree with that assessment.
"I thought that she would be proud," said Bellemare with his voice breaking.
Following the game the camera's caught Bellemare pointing towards the sky, a moment that now has considerably more significance given what we now know.
My condolences go out to Pierre-Edouard and the rest of the Bellemare family in this difficult time.