What more can bring a smile to a child’s face than NHL mascots running around a children’s hospital ward and a brand new playroom?
One of the main activities this All-Star weekend in Ottawa was the unveiling of the new NHL All-Star Legacy Playroom at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. Pat LaFontaine, along with the Ottawa Senators opened its doors to the new room. Gary Bettman, Eugene Melnyk (Owner, Governor and Chairman, Ottawa Senators), Colin Greening (Ottawa Senator), Sean Couturier, Matt Read (Philadelphia Flyers), and former hockey players Jason York and Laurie Boschman were on hand at the unveiling along with Kim DeVooght (Vice President, Public Sector, Cisco Canada) and Joanne Levesque (CHEO Chair, Board of Trustees).
One patient that caught the eye of everyone was a little boy with cancer. He not only made a new friend with Vancouver Fin, but he also talked up a storm during the speeches. During Pat LaFontaine’s speech, the little boy started talking about how the chemo was getting rid of that bad stuff in his body. He was so excited when he announced that the chemo would make it go away for good.
A few seconds later, LaFontaine spoke about Jason Spezza’s stop at the children ward around Christmas. One little girl was so moved by his visit, that after his visit, her recovery blossomed. She is doing so much better now than before that visit and she says it is all thanks to Spezza.
LaFontaine pointed out to the young rookies that they are in a position to change the world. If one hockey player spending time with a little girl with cancer could help her recovery, then they can help make a difference in this world. They should use their newfound position in society and help make it a better place for everyone.
The NHL, NHLPA and the Ottawa Senators have taken the next step to helping these kids have a fun place to go to get away from the sorrow that goes along with being sick. They created an escape called the NHL All-Star Legacy Playroom. It is a place where kids can play games, use computers and even videoconference with NHL players or their teachers. They don’t even have to leave their beds.
Here are a few photos from the scenes at the unveiling in Ottawa.