The NHL community is rallying around Erik Karlsson and his wife, Melinda, after news that they lost their unborn child.
After the Ottawa Senators captain sat out Tuesday’s game against the Florida Panthers, the team released a statement announcing his unborn son had died.
“The collective thoughts and prayers of the Ottawa Senators organization, the city of Ottawa and entire hockey community rest with Erik and Melinda Karlsson following the loss of their son,” the team said in a statement published on NHL.com. “We ask that you respect the family’s wishes for privacy during the grieving process.”
The baby was reportedly due in mid-April.
“Everybody is heartbroken, it’s awful,” said Senators Guy Boucher, according to Canada’s CBC News. “We definitely feel for Erik and his wife and his family. It’s been a tough year but this is a real personal, devastating blow to them. We feel for them and Erik is going to take the time he needs to come back and once he does we’ll do our best to support him. It’s definitely a sad day.”
After getting married last year, the couple announced last November that they were expecting their first child.
“The most exciting news we have ever received arrived earlier this year,” Erik, 27, captioned a photo of his wife showing off a sonogram on Instagram. “Can’t wait to meet you.”
They later announced they were expecting a baby boy with a hockey-themed gender reveal, in which Erik slapped a puck to reveal a cloud of blue dust.
Most recently, Erik shared a photo on Feb. 19 with his hand on Melinda’s baby bump captioned, “Just me and my little family.:)”
NHL teams, fellow players and alumni shared their condolences to the Karlsson family on social media.
Former NHL player Marc Savard tweeted, “Today is a day to remember that there are way more important things in life and hockey is just a game!! Our condolences to @ErikKarlsson65 and his wife Melinda on their tragic loss!!”