BOSTON — When Dennis Seidenberg and Chris Kelly stepped out of the elevators and onto one of the floors at Mass General Hospital for Children on Wednesday afternoon, the smiles — on the faces of the patients, the parents, the doctors and the nurses — were instantaneous.
Though Seidenberg, Kelly and the rest of the Bruins are finished playing hockey for the 2014-15 season, their presence in the community is still felt, as evidenced by their visit this week. Seidenberg’s wife Becky serves as a co-chair of the hospital’s annual Storybook Ball, and in October 2014, one of the event’s auction items included a visit by Seidenberg and a fellow player to the hospital.
The 2014 Storybook Ball — which celebrated its 15th year of supporting pediatric health this past October — raised more than $1.8 million to support Mass General Hospital for Children’s efforts to enhance family-centered care, as well as pediatric community and global health initiatives. Becky Seidenberg serves as one of four co-chairs of the event.
Seidenberg and Kelly teamed up to fulfill the auctioned visit on Wednesday, though they would have been happy to go under any circumstance.
“It’s a very big part of not just for [who we are], but also for the Bruins,” Seidenberg said. “Throughout the whole season, guys are visiting hospitals, having clinics with kids and those visits are always fun because we make the kids’ days — and sometimes the parents — and even for us, it’s a fun thing to do.”
In fact, in many of the rooms the two players visited on Wednesday, the parents were more starstruck than their children.
“They get a kick out of it, too,” Seidenberg said. “So it’s a good time.”
If they can’t be on the ice right now, there isn’t anywhere the defenseman and his teammates would rather be on a Wednesday afternoon.
“Every time I watch playoff hockey, and then I go outside and feel how cold it is still, I think we should still be playing,” Seidenberg said with a smile.
So for a few hours, Seidenberg and Kelly went from room to room at Mass General, handing out gift bags and visiting with patients and their families. They tossed a mini basketball back and forth with one patient and admired another’s prom dress. They, like Seidenberg said, made everyone’s day.
“It gives you some kind of satisfaction,” Seidenberg said. “It makes you feel good. It makes yourself feel good, and also the kids, so it’s always a plus for both parties.”