With the holiday season quickly approaching, it was time for the Boston Bruins to fill their cars and start wrapping. This year, Hal Gill gathered up his fellow teammates and Boston Bruins staff to go shopping for the children of the Boston area. On December 9, Gill, along with fellow Bruins P.J. Axelsson, Brad Boyes, Brain Leetch, David Tanabe and others, roamed the isles of local toy stores in search of fulfilling the wish lists of local children in need.
On December 12, Gill and his fellow teammates visited local hospitals and shelters to personally distribute the toys to the children and spread some holiday cheer. Children and parents alike were excited to see the hometown heroes make their way through the halls and bring some joy to everyone with presents and autographs for the holiday season. The players visited patient’s rooms, dining halls, and took tours of the facilities.
“Anytime you can go in and make some kids that are sick happy for a little while, it’s a great thing,” commented Gill. “We went in to one room and a little brother was in there, and he was all excited to see us. Even if it’s the family we can make smile for a bit then that’s a good thing. They’re going through a tough time, especially during a time that is supposed to be fun and enjoyable for families. I’m glad we could help.
“Thanks to my teammates too. I’m really glad that everyone who could go went. It was certainly one of the biggest groups we’ve ever had,” said Gill.
Travis Green, P.J. Axelsson and Marco Sturm joined Gill, who made visits to Floating Hospital and Rosie’s Place. Andrew Raycroft, Alex Zhamnov, Milan Jurcina and Tom Fitzgerald visited and distributed toys at Boston Medical Center and Crossroads. Patrice Bergeron
, Hannu Toivonen, Pat Leahy and Dan LaCouture made visits to Franciscan Children’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital. And Brad Isbister, Eric Nickulas, David Tanabe and Wayne Primeau delivered toys to children at Shriners Hospital and Home for Little Wanderers.
Gill and Axelsson visited with five-year old David Ryan and delivered him a table hockey game. David quickly tired of beating his family at the game and looked for a new challenge in Gill and Axelsson. Needless to say, it wasn’t much of a challenge.
“It’s Christmas time and when you’re in a hospital feeling kind of sick, it’s not fun,” said P.J. Axelsson, who was accompanied by his wife, Siw. “When we can come in and help families and kids smile for a day, it’s really nice. You never want to see a kid sick, even though they’re in a good hospital and most of them are going to get better, but any way you can help out then that’s a great thing. Even if it’s a little bit.”