BostonBruins.com - Throughout the week, Bruins prospects at development camp are learning, not only what it means to be a Boston Bruin on the ice, but also what it means to be a Bruin off the ice as well.
Judging from the reactions of current Bruins prospects to community events off the ice, one can tell that they are starting to appreciate what being a Bruin means as a player and as a person.
At the end of practice on Friday, Bruins prospects split into three groups to participate in different community events in Billerica, Burlington, and Methuen. In Methuen, a group of eight Bruins prospects including Linus Arnesson, Wiley Sherman, Ryan Fitzgerald, Seth Griffith, Anthony Camara, Garnet Hathaway, Alex Cord and Chris Casto had the opportunity to volunteer at Nevins Memorial Library to stress to local children the importance of reading.
The Bruins have become role models for younger children who are trying to learn to read and seeing the team encourage reading has made children willing to try it.
“They seemed to enjoy it and you get a kick out of some of the answers they give sometimes," smiled forward Seth Griffith, who read books to the kids and asked the kids trivia questions about the Bruins.
At Nevins Memorial Library, all of the prospects shuffled through three different activities. The main activity was focused on the summer reading program.
When Arnesson, Sherman and Griffith read to the children and led them in a game of Bruins trivia, there were a lot of laughs as the players and children shared their favorite children’s stories. Dr. Seuss was certainly a popular choice.
The Bruins prospects not only spent time with the children reading as they also ran a floor hockey game and did arts and crafts as well.
Fitzgerald, Hathaway and Casto were among the group that led the children in a floor hockey game.
A smile on his face, Garnet Hathaway recapped this portion of the event.
"They were definitely excited about it. We went through a couple stick handling drills and then a passing drill. We let them scrimmage, which was definitely hectic, but they had a lot of fun with it.”
“Playing against us I think they had fun too. They’re good hockey players up there," he added, gesturing to the array of kids near him.
Some of the Bruins prospects have done events like these before, but this was the first time Fitzgerald had the opportunity to partake, having just been drafted by the B's a few weeks ago.
"It’s something special to do it here and it’s been fun,” said Fitzgerald.
The last portion of the event was an arts and crafts event and forward Anthony Camara enjoyed it just as much as the kids.
"Just coming here and getting out to the community, giving back to the kids is always a great experience for ourselves too," said Camara, who happily colored a goalie mask while his new young friends next to him did the same.
Throughout the week, the Bruins prospects have gained an appreciation for what it means to be a Bruin off the ice and they certainly learned how much the spoked-B really means to the community.
“They’ve done a good job of telling us how to carry ourselves and they use guys like Patrice Bergeron who’s a good athlete and a great guy when it comes to sportsmanship," said Fitzgerald. "So they kind of put him as the guy to live up to."
“You realize how much the community appreciates even the rookies coming in and doing events like this," added Griffith. "And I think that just shows how Boston is respected around the community when it comes to stuff like this.”
“If it helps the kids out a lot with reading I’m glad and I’m happy to do that.”
---Written by John Morton for BostonBruins.com