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      Associated Press Article
      Sept. 21, 2001

    "The start of the third period of the NHL exhibition game (Philadelphia Flyers vs. New York Rangers was delayed and then called off Thursday night as fans demanded to watch the president's speech to Congress instead of the game. . . . By the time Bush finished speaking 36 minutes later, the teams lined up at center ice to shake hands. 'I thought it was great to shake hands,' said (the Rangers' Brian) Leetch, who lost a close college friend in the World Trade Center collapse.

    "The speech was about to begin as the intermission clock counted down the final minutes in between the second and third periods. The scoreboard said that play was about to resume, and the speech could be seen in the outer concourses. When the speech was taken off the screen, the 19,117 fans began to boo, before chanting in unison 'Leave it on.' . . . As the teams returned to the benches for the third period, the speech was restored to loud cheers.

    "The players from both teams were as interested in watching the address as the fans. Some knelt along the side boards, next to the four game officials who straddled the center ice line. . . . In the speech's most dramatic moments, the fans roared - drowning out the applause that could be seen on the screen. Spontaneous cheers of 'USA! USA!' also rang out, and fans waved some flags. But when Bush was speaking, the arena fell silent.

    "The biggest cheers from the crowd came when a widow of one the passengers, who helped thwart the terrorists' plan to crash a fourth airliner into another building, was singled out by the president. They cheered again when Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge was recognized by the president. Fans even roared when New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and New York Gov. George Pataki were shown - almost unheard of for Philadelphia fans to salute New York."

    - Associated Press, 9/21/01