As the city of Boston continues to persevere in the face of the tragedy that shook the city in April, the Red Sox continue to strengthen civic pride.

In a gesture of class, the Sox invited the 2013 Clarkson Cup Champion Boston Blades to Fenway Park.  

The Blades became only the second American franchise to claim what is regarded as the Stanley Cup of women’s hockey. On May 9, the Blades had the opportunity to grace the sacred field of Fenway Park.

Despite darkened clouds which blocked the skies, as well as a playing surface covered with an unwanted downpour of rain, the Blades stood proudly along the first and third base lines near home plate. Donning their home whites, the roster were greeted to a round of applause from the Fenway faithful.

Although the Red Sox allowed four runs in the sixth inning of the May 9 contest to fall by a 5-3 count, the game was the experience of a lifetime for the Blades players. In addition to gracing the field, the Blades had the opportunity to meet Sox mascot Wally the Green Monster and had the best view in the house, sitting atop the famed Green Monster to catch the game.

It was only fitting that the Red Sox were hosting the Minnesota Twins. Like the Red Sox, the Twins organization has also taken the opportunity to recognize the impact of women’s hockey in their respective community.

When the Minnesota Golden Gophers won NCAA titles in 2012 and 2013, the squad was invited to grace the turf at Target Field both years. For both events, the entire Golden Gopher team roster was allowed to come onto the field, while the team captain threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

While the Blades have players who come from various parts of North America, there are those on the team with very proud New England roots. Starting with team captain Caitlin Cahow, other players such as Kacey Bellamy, Meghan Duggan, Erika Lawler and Molly Schaus (all of whom competed for the US Team at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games) were raised in New England.  

Another member of the Blades also represents the great Boston Strong spirit that has infused the city since April. Working as a paramedic, Cherie Hendrickson had competed in the 2013 Boston Marathon. Seeing the spirit of friendship and assistance provided to those in need during the haunting events of that day made Hendrickson prouder than ever to be a Bostonian. 

For the proud Blades franchise, May 9, 2013 could mark a great milestone: the recognition that the Blades franchise has truly arrived. Being recognized for their Clarkson Cup championship at Fenway helps to place them in the New England sporting conversation.

Although the women of the Blades do not earn salaries like David Ortiz or Jon Lester, their dedication to the game, hard work and sacrifice makes them remarkable sporting heroes worthy of admiration and recognition.

As the Sox continue to maintain their first-place run, the Blades may serve as a source of inspiration and perhaps good luck in their push for the postseason.

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