Boston Pride forward Denna Laing, 24, remains hospitalized one week after she left the Outdoor Women’s Classic game on a stretcher. Late in the first period, she stepped on a stick and went headfirst into the boards at Gillette Stadium. There have been no updates on her condition, and her family has requested privacy.
On Tuesday night, a family friend launched a support fund on gofundme.com in Laing’s name. The fund-raising goal is $50,000.
The support fund webpage describes Laing as someone who “always has and will continue to confront adversity with relentless grit that is unparalleled.” Also, according to the webpage, any money donated “will be allocated to Denna and her family to use towards funding her medical expenses, along with any other expenses that we can help her family with during this hard time.”
In 24 hours, the fund had received more than $42,000 in donations. Then, shortly before 7 p.m. on Wednesday, an update appeared on the gofundme page that announced the fund would be temporarily discontinued, and that “there will be other trust funds set up to support Denna.” At that point, $43,057 had been raised.
Additionally, players who compete in the National Women’s Hockey League for the Pride, New York Riveters, Connecticut Whale, and Buffalo Beauts are covered by insurance. There were insurance issues in advance of the Outdoor Women’s Classic, but those involved the coverage for the Pride’s opponent, the Montreal Canadiennes of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
“We have an insurance policy for a situation like this,” said NWHL spokesman Jake Duhaime. “The NWHL covers all players in accordance with state and federal laws.”
Laing grew up in Marblehead and played for the Assabet Valley girls’ hockey program along with her two sisters. Her father, Dennis, is a coach with the program. She played for Noble and Greenough in high school, then Princeton University. She was captain of the Princeton women’s ice hockey team for two years, and led the team in goals and points as a senior.
Following college, Laing played for the Boston Blades in the CWHL before she joined the Pride and the NWHL this fall for its inaugural season. The NWHL is the first professional league in women’s hockey in North America that pays its players. Laing was one of four players on the Pride practice squad before she was called up for Winter Classic duty, replacing teammates who were attending the national team training camp in Blaine, Minn.
The game, a milestone for women’s professional hockey, was overshadowed by what happened to Laing. After she crashed into the boards, Laing remained on the ice for several minutes as medical personnel attended to her. Then she was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where the gofundme page says she remains.
On Dec. 31, Gabriella Figueroa, who plays for the Riveters and competed alongside Laing at Princeton, tweeted, “Praying for my best friend @dlaing14…nobody has a bigger heart and deserves anything more than her.”
When the gofundme page launched, it generated an outpouring of support from across the country.
Early in the fund-raising campaign, the University of Minnesota-Duluth women’s hockey team tweeted: “Hockey world, please consider helping @PWIH/@TheBostonPride player Denna Laing, injured…playing the game we love.”
The most recent tweets from Laing came before the Winter Classic when she shared her excitement about the historic women’s game.