Higgins' thoughts turn to firefighter father

Canucks forward Christopher Higgins (right) celebrates a goal against the Predators with teammate...

Canucks forward Christopher Higgins (right) celebrates a goal against the Predators with teammate Dan Hamhuis during Game 1 of their NHL Western Conference semifinal series in Vancouver, B.C., April 28, 2011. (ANDY CLARK/Reuters)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:29 AM ET

NASHVILLE - For several weeks, Chris Higgins' father was nowhere to be seen.

Bobby Higgins, a firefighter for the 231 Engine Company in Brooklyn, N.Y., was among the many brave people who immediately responded when the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, feverishly trying to save lives. After nearly a month combing through the rubble, finding more dead bodies than survivors, the crews finally were finished their task.

Chris Higgins, a Vancouver Canucks forward, thought immediately of his father after hearing the news Sunday that Osama Bin Laden -- the mastermind behind the attacks -- had been killed Sunday in Pakistan.

"It's not going to bring his friends back," Higgins, a native of Long Island, said Monday after practice. "But I think it definitely helps a lot of people in New York City, especially, to know the guy who did this is no longer capable of hurting anybody else.

"(My dad) never really has talked about it since then, and he's not the kind of guy who would really talk about it to begin with. It's a pretty tight-knit family for firefighters, so I would never really ask him about it."

Chris Higgins -- who said he didn't lose any loved ones when terrorists hijacked planes and flew them into the buildings, as well as The Pentagon (a fourth was taken down by passengers) -- found out about Bin Laden's death via text message from a friend and immediately turned on the news.

He has seen people say the killing of the terrorist by U.S. forces will bring closure to 9/11, but he doesn't believe everyone has the same sentiment.

"I don't think it does for him," Higgins said of his father. "He's not the kind of guy who goes out for blood after something like that happens. I think it's bringing back a lot of memories for people right now. I know people are celebrating, but I think there are people having tough times revisiting this.

"People have to respect that, too."

Still, the jubilation across the United States was felt in the hockey world.

"Very exciting," Nashville defenceman Ryan Suter said. "I thought right back to where I was on September 11. It's pretty amazing we finally got him."

Canucks forward Ryan Kesler sent out a Twitter message: "Proud to be an American!! Justice is finally served!"

"He was the main person behind the 9/11 attacks, so, as an American, it's great news," Kesler said Monday. "It's sad for some people, and it's unfortunate it took so long and so many people died, but there is some justice."

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/RandySportak


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