Generous donations by NESN, Volvo and the players themselves (an amount which was then matched by the Boston Bruins Foundation), had previously given the Bruins the opportunity to indulge in the aisles of the local Woburn, Massachusetts Target store in order to shop for dozens of local, commendable youth.
Then, with thousands of dollars worth of gifts in hand, members of the Boston Bruins visited 15 local hospitals and shelters to deliver toys, mingle and spread some joy.
Participating locations included, Franciscan Hospital for Children, Children's Hospital Boston, Floating Hospital for Children, Shriners Hospital, Rosie's Place, Mass. General Hospital, Women's Lunch Place, Boston Medial Center, Spaulding Rehab Center, Cross Roads Family Center, Mass. Eye & Ear Infirmary, Home for Little Wanderers and The Neely House.
Wayne Primeau, who stepped in as jolly ol’ Saint Nick, had P.J. Axelsson, Marc Savard
and Jason York in his group, and particularly enjoyed this special holiday event.
“It such a good feeling," said the Bruins forward. "These kids get excited to see you and enjoy watching you play, and to be able to give them enjoyment and make them smile…it’s a great feeling.”
Wayne was not the only one reveling in the annual toy shopping and delivery.
Smile after smile erupted on the faces of the ever so deserving little ones, as the boys in Black & Gold arrived with ample gifts and an equal amount of holiday cheer.
Said one toy recipient, “Wow, I can’t even believe the Boston Bruins are here…and bringing me toys. This is awesome!”
Ecstatic reactions such as that are exactly what defenseman Jason York was looking for.
“This whole event really makes you think and puts things into perspective. I just want to take them all home with me,” he said.
Like the Bruins players and orgainization, staff at many of the local hospitals and shelters also recognized the importance and magnitude of this gift-giving event.
“We here at the Boston Medical Center really look forward to and enjoy this event,” shared one staff member, speaking on behalf of her colleagues. “It ’s so generous of the players to come out and spend some time with the kids.
"They absolutely love it. It makes their holidays that much more enjoyable.”
Although the Boston Bruins squad of players may be hard-hitting, rough and tough on the ice, all in all, off the rink they’re just a group of caring guys looking to generate some smiles, spread some cheer and make a difference.
Jill Merchant is a student at the University of Massachusetts -- Amherst.
Ms. Merchant is also serving as the Boston Bruins Media Relations Intern this semester.