WOBURN, MA – The Bruins prospects have been working hard at development camp to prove they can play, and today some of them got to play.
They played Nintendo Wii, Bingo, and tossed bean bags into targets.
Some Bruins prospects visited the New England Rehabilitation Hospital as part of a community appearance involved in their development camp; which is known for its unpredictable nature.
“They’ve definitely kept us ready for anything,” camp invitee Daniel Carr said in the locker room after a physical practice.
Later in the day he was tossing beanbags with patients at the facility.
Director of Business Development, Teresa Hayes, mentioned how much it meant to the patients.
“As a rehab hospital, people have come here who have a disability but often are inspired by seeing people as they play sports,” Hayes said. “Having a visit and having an event breaks up their day and their therapy schedule and I think puts a smile on their face.”
The patients weren’t the only ones smiling. The afternoon was a break from the players’ strenuous development camp as well as the patient’s therapy.
“Yeah it’s definitely a break for us and it’s great to come in here and just see the smiles on their faces and just put smiles on our faces as well,” prospect Justin Florek said. “They’re more like friends to us then patients. That’s how we look at it."
A nursing supervisor at the Cardiac Rehab Gym, Susan Orr from Stoneham, was thrilled for the patients.
“Oh my gosh, did you see their faces? They’re so excited!” Orr said.
While Orr confirmed she was not related to Bruins legend Bobby Orr, she can relate to the patients who she sees every day.
“You probably don’t even realize how much joy you’re bringing to people,” Orr said of the Bruins organization.
Hayes couldn’t have agreed more.
“My experience is that hockey players –- of all the professional athletes –- are generally more kind and humble,” Hayes said. “They’ve worked really hard to get where they are but they haven’t lost sight of that personal connection with people.”
Florek mentioned how the connection with the Bruins and the community goes both ways.
“I think no matter what you do it’s important to give back to your community. You especially see it with hockey programs,” Florek said. “They give their heart and soul to us so the least we can do is give back to them as well.”
One of those fans who gives their heart and soul to the team was Scott Heffron, a fan who’s been following the Bruins since the 70’s. Heffron proudly wore a shirt commemorating the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship and mentioned how he attended the parade.
On top of supporting the B’s, he volunteers at the hospital to support rehab patients.
“Yeah I [was] a patient here many years ago, I give back,” Heffron said. “It’s fun to be around the Bruins and it’s good to see the smiles on the faces of the fans.”
Heffron chatted with Tommy Cross and left a lasting impression on the B’s prospect.
“You can just tell the resiliency that they have is definitely contagious and meeting people like Scott just [are] kind of role models for all of us,” Cross said.
Fans like Heffron make Cross proud to give back to the community.
“I think it’s part of the responsibility of everyone in the organization just because of the fan support that we have around Boston,” Cross said. “It’s our duty to give back and it’s something that we all love to do.”