BOSTON, MA – To wrap up his week of community visits, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask stopped by the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital this Friday, March 16 to spend time with pediatric patients.
This marked Rask’s third volunteer visit in as many days, as he has chosen to dedicate much of his time over the next two weeks to give back to the community while he recovers from injury.
“I asked if I could make myself useful somehow because I’m hurt now,” said Rask. “I haven’t gone to hospitals that many times this year, so it was a good opportunity to take the time and say hi to some kids.”
Sporting a green Bruins jersey and a leprechaun hat in honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the 6-foot-3 “leprechaun” passed through the halls of Spaulding and delivered smiles to the pediatric patients and families who eagerly awaited the chance to meet Rask and collect autographs.
Down the hall, a patient named Kristen celebrated her 16th birthday that day.
“I brought you some birthday presents!” said Rask as he entered her room and presented her with Bruins goodie bags that included posters, hockey pucks, and a Stanley Cup pillow case for her hospital bed.
For Rask, the most rewarding part of hospital visits is seeing patients like Kristen get a well-deserved treat after a long day of rehab.
“It’s just the excitement of these little guys, [they’re] real Bruins fans so I think that was the best part,” Rask said.
Prior to visiting Spaulding, Rask suited up in full firefighter gear on Wednesday to help support the Bruins Muscular Dystrophy Night, and joined pediatric patients for a similar day of fun at Children’s Hospital Boston on Thursday.
Maureen Banks, Chief Operating Officer of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, also commented on the effect that these types of visits have on the children.
“It makes such a difference in what’s a very long day for them, a long hospital stay,” said Banks. “It really brings home some of the normal life that has been interrupted for them.”
“They can really focus on ‘I can get better, I can go back to doing regular activities, I can play hockey again’,” said Banks. “It gives them that sense of hope and energy to keep trying and working. We really feel very lucky and grateful that we have this commitment from the Bruins.”