Due to his ongoing battle with post-concussion symptoms, Marc Savard hasn’t been able to help Boston on the ice since last January. That hasn’t stopped him from helping in the community, though. On Wednesday, the Bruins announced that Savard will be hosting pediatric patients from Children’s Hospital Boston in a luxury suite he has purchased for every Bruins home game until the end of the 2013-14 season.
Savard’s guests will be mostly children who are suffering from the effects of head trauma, something Savard is all too familiar with. Guests will be greeted with food, goodie bags and visits from the Bruins mascot and ice girls.
The 34-year-old Savard planned to be on hand for Thursday’s game against the Canadiens to join his guests on the program’s opening night. Unfortunately, inclement weather will keep him grounded in Ontario. Savard said on Twitter that Brad Marchand, who is currently serving a five-game suspension, will visit the suite instead Thursday.
“Not able to make it to Boston tonight due to weather,” Savard tweeted. “Excited to get there soon and watch a game with the kids from Children’s Hospital and see the fans who have been so great to me all these years in beantown..families and kids enjoy the suite tonight..mother nature naughty.”
Savard isn’t the first Bruin to donate a luxury suite to local children. Patrice Bergeron has hosted local pediatric patients and members of children’s organizations for the last six years as part of the “Patrice’s Pals” program. Savard and Children’s Hospital Boston hope the new program will help draw public attention to children’s head injuries.
“Marc Savard understands firsthand the challenges faced by children suffering from the effects of head trauma from both a medical and psychological standpoint,” said Beth Donegan Driscoll, the director of child life services at Children’s Hospital Boston. “The partnership with Marc Savard is an exceptional opportunity for Children’s Hospital Boston patients and their families to experience the thrill of a Bruins game at the generosity of this very special man. … With the help of individuals like Marc Savard we can and do make a difference in the lives of deserving children every day.”
Savard has played just 32 games since suffering a severe concussion on March 7, 2010, when Pittsburgh’s Matt Cooke caught him with a blindside hit to the head. Savard missed the remainder of that regular season and the first round of the playoffs. He returned for the second round and scored the overtime winner in Game 1 against Philadelphia.
Savard began to suffer from post-concussion symptoms and depression over the summer, though, and missed the start of the 2010-11 season. He returned on Dec. 2, but suffered another concussion against Colorado on Jan. 22 on a clean hit by former teammate Matt Hunwick.
The Bruins officially shut him down for the season on Feb. 8, and Savard has not been cleared to play since. On Aug. 31, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli told The Boston Globe that Savard wouldn’t play this season and that “it’s very unlikely Marc will play again.”