Boston teams, athletes, and other sports figures pay tribute to Travis Roy

"Travis’ work and dedication towards helping fellow spinal cord-injury survivors is nothing short of amazing."

Travis Roy, who was honored by the Bruins in 2015, was remembered by members of the Boston sports community on Thursday.
Travis Roy, who was honored by the Bruins in 2015, was remembered by members of the Boston sports community on Thursday. –Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

The Boston sports community received heartbreaking news on Thursday. Former Boston University hockey player Travis Roy, who was left paralyzed just 11 seconds into his first shift with the Terriers, died at the age of 45.

Local schools, teams, and athletes reacted to the death of the man who inspired so many.

Boston University, where Roy received a bachelor’s degree in 2000 and an honorary degree in 2016, said Roy’s work was “nothing short of amazing.”

“It is with heavy hearts that we mourn the passing of Travis Roy,” Boston University Athletics said in a statement. “His story is the epitome of inspiration and courage, and he was a role model and a hero to so many people. Travis’ work and dedication towards helping fellow spinal cord-injury survivors is nothing short of amazing. His legacy will last forever, not just within the Boston University community, but with the countless lives he has impacted across the country. Our sincere thoughts are with his wonderful family as well as his vast support group of friends and colleagues.”

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Jerry York, the head coach of BU’s rival Boston College, acknowledged the impact Roy had.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Travis Roy,” York said in a statement. “Travis overcame his obstacles and dedicated himself to improving the lives of others. He will continue to be an inspiration to us all. May he rest in peace.”

Roy was also honored by a pair of Bruins legends.

“Travis Roy was the ultimate symbol of determination and courage,” Bruins president Cam Neely said in a statement. “The impact that Travis had on the New England hockey community is immeasurable, and his relentless advocacy for spinal cord research was inspiring. The Bruins offer sincere condolences to the Roy family, the Travis Roy Foundation, Boston University, and all of those who knew and loved Travis Roy.”

“Christiane and I are saddened to hear about the passing of our good friend, Travis Roy,” Ray Bourque wrote on Twitter. “We are honored to have known such a great man who helped so many others. Our family sends our heartfelt condolences to the Roy family and everyone Travis touched. May he Rest In Peace.”

The Bruins signed Roy to a one-day contract on Oct. 20, 2015, the 20-year anniversary of the day he was injured, making him an honorary Bruin.

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Denna Laing, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury while playing in the 2016 Outdoor Women’s Classic for the Boston Pride, called Thursday’s news “gutting.”

“Travis did so many little things and big things for so many people,” Laing wrote. “This is gutting, really truly sad. Travis visited me when I was still in the hospital and has continued to be a big support in my recovery. Wow. #ThankYouTravis”

Former Bruin Milan Lucic, who is now with the Calgary Flames, also remembered Roy.

“Sad couple days in the hockey world,” Lucic shared on Twitter. “Another great and inspirational person I had the pleasure to know. R.I.P Travis.”

Mike Eruzione, captain of the Miracle on Ice U.S. Olympic hockey team and a native of Winthrop, remembered his fellow BU alum and friend on Twitter.

“Sad day after hearing of the passing of Travis Roy he was a very special person,” Eruzione wrote. “He dedicated his life to helping so many. raised so much money For spinal cord injuries and those who suffered. He will be missed but his spirit and smile will be remembered forever RIP my friend.”

Roy’s impact was also felt outside the hockey world.

“Anyone surprised that a hockey player could have such a big impact on a baseball team never had the privilege of meeting Travis Roy,” Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy said. “The warmth, strength, and resiliency he exhibited in the face of tragedy set him apart. His mantra was to never take anything for granted, and his message resonates stronger than ever with all of us at the Red Sox.

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“We will miss his spirit, his annual presence at Spring Training and Fenway Park, and his infectious smile that energized every person he met. As we contemplate ways to honor Travis and continue his philanthropic legacy, our deepest condolences go out to the Roy family tonight.”

Eric LeGrand, who played football at Rutgers and was left paralyzed after an injury during a game in 2010, promised to continue Roy’s legacy.

“RIP Travis Roy,” LeGrand wrote on Twitter. “I will continue our mission down here to try to find a cure for paralysis. Much love to you (‘Travis Roy Foundation’).”

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