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Robert Kraft, Mac Jones, Rob Gronkowski and more send videos to Lewiston High School football team

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft walks on the field before an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft sent a video to the Lewiston High School football team to offer his support after last week's mass shooting. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Sports figures and celebrities across New England are rallying around the Lewiston, Maine, community one week after a mass shooter killed 18 people.

Lewiston athletic director Jason Fuller shared the videos of support the Lewiston High School football team received from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, quarterback Mac Jones and former Patriots star Rob Gronkowski.

On Oct. 25, the deadliest mass shooting in the country this year took place at a bowling alley and restaurant in Lewiston. In addition to those killed, 13 people were injured.

On Wednesday, ahead of Lewiston's annual "Battle of the Bridge" game against Edward Little High School, Fuller revealed the messages on X, formerly Twitter.

"Tonight, two communities come together to celebrate a century-old tradition for the 'Battle of the Bridge,'" Kraft said in his video. "Despite heavy hearts, football has always brought communities together, and never has that been more important than right now.

"For all who are attending the game tonight, we applaud you for supporting one another. And for all those playing in the game tonight, you already are champions. ... Please know that the New England Patriots are all rooting for you, and we love you, and you have our compassion, very, very much."

Comedian Will Ferrell also sent the team a message ahead of its rivalry game. This comes days after the town received a plethora of support from the NHL's Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers were the original NHL affiliate of the AHL's Maine Mariners from 1977 to 1983. After Philadelphia sold the Mariners to the New Jersey Devils, the team relocated to Utica, New York, following the 1986-87 season. A second iteration of the team was established in 1987, and the Bruins became Maine's NHL affiliate.

For five years until 1992, the Mariners stayed in Portland, Maine. Boston moved them to Providence, Rhode Island, and renamed the team the Providence Bruins. In 2018, the Flyers brought the ECHL's Maine Mariners back to Portland and operated the team until 2021.

The Bruins, Flyers and Sabres taped their sticks blue in the aftermath of the shooting. Those sticks will be auctioned off, and the proceeds will be contributed to the Lewiston Strong Fund — started by the Boston Bruins Foundation. At the home game immediately after the tragedy, the Bruins wore a Maine decal, and they have pledged $100,000 minimum to support families impacted.