The Raptors and former Leafs are spending the weekend in London, Ont. help the community to heal – .

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The Raptors and former Leafs are spending the weekend in London, Ont. help the community to heal – .


TORONTO – An anti-hate stance took place this weekend on the field and on the ice as two Canadian sports teams – the Toronto Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs – visited London, Ont. to spread the unified message that hate has no home.

The Raptors held open practice at Budweiser Gardens on Saturday, followed by a Maple Leafs alumni game on Sunday. Both events took place with the aim of commemorating the victims of an Islamophobic terrorist attack that occurred four months earlier.

On June 6, members of the Afzaal family were killed in London after a man hit them with his truck in what police described as a targeted hate attack. The only survivor was a nine-year-old boy, Fayez, who has recovered from his injuries and is back in school.

The attack sent shockwaves through the community and Canada as a whole.

“It was a deep scar, based on how it happened and the circumstances around it, so it will take some time,” Nawaz Tahir, spokesperson for the Muslim mosque in London. “Unfortunately, we constantly hear about different events, attacks and vandalized mosques across the country. […] which kind of stimulates that and opens up this wound a little more. “

Nick Nurse, head coach of the Toronto Raptors, said this weekend’s sporting events were organized to fight hate.

“We wanted to come here,” he said. “It mainly gives us the ability to use our platform to talk about these issues and let everyone know that he is welcome. “

Darryl Sittler, a former NHL player who played in the alumni game on Sunday, told CTV News there was no room for hate crimes or discrimination.

“Not in this community or in any community,” Sitter said.

In a press conference following Raptors training, point guard Fred Vanvleet said the team is “against all forms of hatred, and we definitely support the Muslim community that has been affected here in London. “.

Sports can be an important unifying factor during the healing process, Tahir said.

“This is a very powerful and heartwarming message, especially for our young people who, for many of them, are a great outlet, an avenue to help them from a psychological point of view,” Tahir said.

The events were not just a show of support.

Money raised from the events, along with a $ 250,000 installation from the MLSE Foundation in partnership with the City of London, will be used to renovate an outdoor lot as a youth legacy project.

In addition, the money will also be used to support mental health as the community continues to heal.

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