The Falmouth (Mass.) High School hockey team returned to their home ice Wednesday for the first time since winter break, but there were two gaping holes in their roster.
On Dec. 22, senior standouts and best friends Owen Higgins and James Lavin were leaving the rink together after practice when the vehicle they were in spun off the road and hit a tree. Lavin died that night, and Higgins died the next night, leaving their team, and the entire Falmouth community, grieving.
But on Wednesday, it was a celebration of their lives, as the Clippers paid tribute to the two 17-year-olds before their game against Dennis-Yarmouth High School. James’ No. 10 and Owen’s No. 19 were hung behind both teams’ benches, while a black ribbon with their names and numbers was emblazoned on the ice.
Falmouth head coach Paul Moore also delivered a touching speech.
“They were such good kids,” Moore said before the game, per The Boston Herald. “Everybody is still hurting. The kids were very concerned about us not playing (Wednesday). We needed to play hockey, but the focus will be on those two young men and how they lived. It’s been a tough run. I think the hockey rink has been a sanctuary for these kids.”
Nearly 200 schools in Massachusetts, as well as the Boston Bruins, honored the boys in the aftermath of their deaths, but the tribute at Falmouth was something the community needed before the Clippers’ 5-0 win.
Thumbnail photo via Facebook/Falmouth Clippers Hockey