Melrose, MA - Bruins defenseman Matt Bartkowski and winger Reilly Smith turned some heads and brought some smiles to the faces of patients at Melrose/Wakefield Hospital during their visit on Monday afternoon.
The pair arrived and immediately donned their black and gold sweaters before starting their rounds through the hospital.
Up first was a trip to the maternity ward to visit newborn babies and their parents. Both Bartkowski and Smith introduced themselves, conversed, took pictures, signed autographs, and handed out baby-sized Bruins gear to the new parents.
“It was fun going to the maternity ward and seeing newborn babies. They’re so little it’s crazy,” said Smith.
“Hopefully they can wear the onesies and grow up Bruins fans,” said Bartkowski.
It was an opportunity to give back to some Bruins fans that, at the moment, certainly weren’t able to focus on being a hockey fan.
“Especially having a newborn, I’m sure it’s tough to get to a game within that first year or anything like that,” said Bartkowski. “It’s good to be able to come and meet people and just help them smile.”
Next, the two were tasked with helping guide patients through the hallways on medical carts to their various destinations. They stopped and talked to some other patients, and were asked by a few members of the nursing staff to take pictures.
“My kids are going to freak out!” one nurse exclaimed happily before posing with the players for a photo.
When it was all said and done, Smith and Bartkowski were showered with well-wishes and gratitude for taking the time to be there. Both Bruins were just happy to be able to help in any little way they could.
“It’s good to be able to come and meet people and just help them smile,” said Bartkowski.
“It’s good seeing their eyes light up and a lot of smiles today too which is great,” said Smith. “When we can give back to community I think it’s good for the city and it’s good for our team. Just a fun day.”
Giving back to the community is a large part of what being a member of the Boston Bruins is all about. How important is it for the players to do these kind of visits?
“It’s huge,” said Smith. “Without fans and the community we wouldn’t have a job. So it’s great giving back and showing them support because they support us so much.”
--- Written by Ethan Hartley for BostonBruins.com