Boston, MA - Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask
and defenseman Mark Stuart might put out fires in the B’s zone on a regular basis, but they recently caught a glimpse of what life is like in the real line of fire.
On Feb 26, Rask and Stuart visited Boston’s Engine 33, the oldest fire station in the United States, to show their appreciation for the station’s continued commitment to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
The Bruins have shown their own support for the association as well. Along with fellow Bruin Shawn Thornton, Stuart is a part of the MDA’s “Muscle Team,” a program in which Boston professional athletes and celebrities are paired with an MDA Buddy, a local child living with muscular dystrophy.
The Bruins will also be hosting their 2nd Annual Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Night on Mar 25.
Joined together for the evening in support of this cause, the Bruins and the Engine 33 firefighters used the opportunity to share aspects of each other’s lines of work.
“I’ve always been so interested in it,” said a smiling Stuart. “When people would ask me what I want to do if I wasn’t playing hockey, it was always, ‘I’d probably be a fireman’.”
“This is my first time that I’ve actually been in a firehouse,” he added. “So it was cool for me. I was like a kid in a candy store.”
While Rask did not share the same childhood aspirations, the netminder quickly warmed up to the idea.
“I never chose [being a firefighter] as my dream, but now when I see it, you know, maybe I might just do it.”
Swapping skates for boots, and jerseys for flame-resistant jackets, the Bruins tried on the unit’s gear – all 60 pounds of it.
“It’s heavy,” Rask said of the equipment. “Especially when you’ve got the gas tank on your back and you’re carrying all that weight. It’s a little bit heavier than my [goalie] gear.”
The firefighters took the wide-eyed Stuart and Rask on a tour of the station, introducing them to the parts of the firetruck and showing them the living quarters, which houses walls of photos and newspaper clippings, which pay tribute to fallen firefighters.
“These guys do so much for us,” Stuart said. “When we talk about the military and we talk about police officers, they’re right up there. They keep us safe and they do so much for us.”
Rask agreed and said, “Obviously you appreciate what these guys do on a daily basis, but you never know until you see it.
"Seeing all this, you appreciate them even more.”
To show their appreciation, Rask and Stuart – both donning the units’ helmets – presented the station with a framed team autographed jersey and signed autographs for the firefighters, who were just as appreciative.
At the end of the visit, Stuart compared being a firefighter to his role on the Bruins.
“I can’t even imagine when that bell goes off and they have to report,” said the defenseman. “What they do is so much more intense I feel like.
"I can’t imagine the excitement and adrenaline they’re feeling... also, the fear I’m sure.”
Stuart and Rask may not know first-hand the experience of extinguishing a fire, but whether a member of Engine 33 or of the Black Gold, when the buzzer sounds, it will be time to report for duty.