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Sound Tigers to remember victims

Updated 11:22 pm, Monday, December 31, 2012
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BRIDGEPORT -- An AHL hockey team dresses 20 players for every game, and the cliche goes that it's not about the (player's) name on the back of the jersey, it's about the (team) name on the front.

For the next seven Bridgeport Sound Tigers home games, that won't be so true.

The team announced Thursday that it will wear its black alternate uniforms at home until Jan. 20. Each sweater will bear the last name of one of the 20 first- graders who died in last Friday's shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.

"Our players came out and said, what can we do to help?" Sound Tigers president Howard Saffan said. "They'll take off their names and put on the names of the children who lost their lives.

"On January 20, we'll wear those jerseys, and at the end, take those jerseys off, and the jerseys will go to the families who lost their loved ones."

For each of those seven games, the team plans to display on the Webster Bank Arena scoreboard the names of the six educators who died last Friday.

"This affects the core of who we are," Saffan said. "Sandy Hook Elementary School comes out to Sound Tiger games, and the residents of Newtown support the Sound Tigers.

"This has brought our entire organization and employees to our knees."

Bridgeport began wearing green ribbons on its sweaters in Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Albany Devils at Webster Bank Arena. A decal on the back of their helmets also honored Sandy Hook. A graphic on the ice behind each net should be in place for Saturday's game, when the team plans a video remembrance, Saffan said.

The Sound Tigers plan an online memorabilia auction Jan. 7-20, and Saffan said response from around the AHL and NHL has already been strong.

"We've got a Mario Lemieux jersey," Saffan said, "all-star jerseys. ¦ 100 percent of the proceeds will go to Sandy Hook. We'll place that in our partner Newtown Savings Bank's hands."

Binghamton Senators media relations director Kate Krenzer posted on Twitter that the team will send a team-signed sweater worn by Darien's Hugh Jessiman.

mfornabaio@ctpost.com; http://twitter.com/fornabaioctp; http://blog.connpost.com/fornabaio