BOSTON, MA – After making a trip to Engine 7 Wednesday, Boston Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask headed to the Children’s Hospital Boston on Thursday afternoon.
Getting in the holiday sprit, the Savonlinna, Finland, native held off on the Black & Gold and instead opted for his Bruins Saint Patrick’s Day jersey. Along with that, he sported a green leprechaun hat – complete with a faux beard – to be possibly the tallest leprechaun anyone has ever seen at 6-foot-3.
Starting off the visit, Rask met up with current pediatric patients in the hospital’s playroom where they welcomed him with a table full of arts and crafts.
Continuing with the theme, Rask and the children decorated buckets with Saint Patrick’s Day stickers and made it their own with glittery green and silver sticker letters. Once the Bruin put his personal touch on his bucket, embellishing it with his nickname “Tuuks, ” he helped his new friends do the same.
The Bruin seemed to have no issue in getting down to the children’s level – being completely comfortable in playing and hanging out on the ground.
“I’m at their level all the time,” joked Rask.
One vivacious patient, 9-year-old Adriana from Brooklyn, got the chance to interview the Bruin for NESN.
“It’s a lot of fun,” said Rask on being a hockey player. “But it’s not as much fun as decorating these things with you guys, but it’s a lot of fun.”
Another, of many, patients he chatted with was 6-year-old Kaylee from Rhode Island. While posing for a picture for her mom and others, Rask also took out his cell phone and snapped a shot of the two together for his own keepsake.
“I’ve actually never been here. It’s my first time – it’s a really nice place,” said Rask. “It was fun – to just hang around and try to make it as normal as possible.”
Rask gave out Bruins gift bags, and special Bruins Saint Patrick’s Day pucks, signed by the goalie himself, before heading out to see other patients who couldn’t make it to the playroom.
Room by room, Rask helped lift the spirits of these patients by being genuine, talkative, and empathetic to every child he encountered – telling them to get better soon.
“I think it’s the same for me,” Rask said. “It’s a reaction both ways – you see those kids smiling and then it makes you smile, obviously.”