BOSTON — The Bruins made a special Halloween themed visit to Boston Children’s Hospital on Wednesday afternoon, dressed as characters from the “Despicable Me” movie series.
Zdeno Chara dressed as “Gru” and was joined by "Minions" Torey Krug, David Krejci, Tuukka Rask and Jimmy Hayes.
The Bruins went from room to room at the hospital, “reverse trick-or-treating” as they delivered goodie bags to the children, signed autographs and took pictures.
“We went around and put some smiles on children’s faces and it was just awesome,” said Krug. “We dress up, and take their mind off whatever they’re going through and just put smiles on their faces — it’s a lot of fun.”
The highly anticipated annual visit to Boston Children’s has become a hit for both the Bruins and the hospital.
Last year, Krug dressed up as “Olaf,” along with a full cast of characters from Frozen. Years ago, Chara has dressed up in a large pink bunny costume to make the children laugh.
Chara’s Gru villain impersonation, complete with a mask, was spot on, while the rest of the group perfectly rocked the yellow minion outfits, with each representing a different theme of referee minion, maid minion, bearded minion and siren minion.
“It’s really easy for us to come in and do this,” said Krug. “The smiles on their faces, the laughs we get when we walk into a room and they see athletes that they watch on TV and all of a sudden they’re dressed up in costumes and it makes them laugh. It’s just something easy for us to do.”
Hayes’ outfit was extra special, complete with a belly and beard.
“I mean, it’s a pretty great outfit,” the 6-foot-6 minion smiled. “It doesn’t fit too well, but it got the job done. It was a lot of fun.”
The theme made for some humorous outfits among the group, which made for even brighter smiles from the patients who were amazed at not only seeing the Bruins, but the Bruins dressed up in Halloween costumes.
“It was awesome,” said Hayes. “We would walk in a room and see a lot of smiles on the kids. Just to be able to brighten their day a little bit means a lot to us and it’s always a good time.”
The Bruins were also pretty impressed with the outcome of the outfits.
“[Chara] got it done. A nice, big guy — the leader of the pack as well,” Hayes said of the Captain as Gru.
But Rask choosing to wear the maid minion costume got the most laughs from the patients and staff around the hospital.
“Tuukks might take the win,” Hayes laughed. “It’s nice to see him taking one for the team there.”
While the costumes are all in good fun, it was easy to see the impact they had on the patients they visited, even if it was only for a few minutes.
Each time the Bruins would enter a room, they would immediately brighten the children’s spirits. Each time they left a room, that brightness would remain.
“That was awesome!” young patient Emma blurted out to her parents as the Bruins walked out the door.
When they passed by the room of one toddler, she immediately recognized them as minions and began smiling. Her caregivers started smiling as well and said they had never felt her laugh from her belly like that before.
Another patient they visited is usually very weary of others touching him, even doctors. A breakthrough happened when the Bruins came in — he gladly let them autograph his shirt.
It was amazing to see both the immediate and lasting impact they were providing the children.
A young fan and hockey player Matthew was extra enthused by Chara, who entered the child's room with his Gru mask on before revealing who was behind the costume. Matthew also beamed when meeting Hayes and the rest of the crew.
“The minions have been a big hit with all of the kids here, so we were just walking around to put smiles on their faces,” said Hayes. “Just to put a little happiness into their day today was awesome.”