On Wednesday, November 16, Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara
paid another visit to Children’s Hospital Boston. Only this time the defenseman left Halloween's pink bunny alter ego at home as he toured the facility and spent some time with its young patients.
As excited as the children were to see the 6-foot-9, 255-pound Chara when he walked into their hospital rooms, the defenseman was equally pumped to meet the kids and learn about their hospital's research.
As Chara toured the laboratories, the powerful and intense on-ice persona of the hockey star was nowhere in sight and instead the B's blueliner was as awe-struck as a kid on Christmas morning.
Chara asked dozens of questions about the hospital's work toward defeating cancer, all while talking over the sound of the rushing water that pumps through the impressive fish tanks at the Zon zebrafish lab.
After learning about the mission and process of the study, and being given a demonstration of some of the research equipment, Chara was simply overwhelmed.
"It was just an experience that you can't even describe or put into words," said Chara. "For regular people like myself to even think how the whole research has been going -- it's so deep and just really, really unique."
After his science lesson, it was time for Chara to switch over from the "excited kid" to a (very) big present given to the hospital's patients.
You see, even without a Black & Gold jersey on or a hockey stick in his hand, Zdeno Chara
in a blue hoodie is still Zdeno Chara
. And on Wednesday, that man had fans in need of a pick-me-up.
Ten-year-old Ricky was "very excited" when Chara joined patients for an art session.
The assignment? Use syringes as paint brushes and cover a giant construction paper-lined hospital wall with as much paint as desired.
Chara, who will be recognized at the annual Champions for Children's event to benefit Children's Hospital Boston on December 1, enthusiastically took to the task and along with the patients splashed the walls with color.
After making the wall a masterpiece, patients took pictures with Chara, who signed plenty of autographs.
Ricky was second in line to get his picture taken with the Bruins defenseman and though he's never seen a game in person, he said he has paid attention to the hockey club's games via television.
"I watched them when they were fighting the Canucks," said the ten year old sports enthusiast of last season's Stanley Cup Championship.
Ricky's mother, Carla, was also very appreciative of Chara's visit.
"I think it's unbelievable," she said. "Sometimes a lot of kids don't get a chance to go to a Bruins game, so it's a big deal to actually have a Bruins player come and take the time to do an activity with them and get them autographs."
For Chara, who was glad to meet the patients and learn as much as he could about the facility's ongoing work, any hospital visit remains a serious "no-brainer."
"Putting smiles on their faces is...the medication that we can provide," said the Bruin. "It's always nice to come and cheer them on and make [the patients'] days a little better and make them feel a little better."---Amanda Ostuni