MONTREAL – For many sick kids, December 10 will be a day they’ll remember fondly for a long time to come.
The entire Canadiens coaching and management staff, as well as a handful of the team’s alumni, spent the day visiting St. Justine’s Hospital and the Montreal Children’s Hospital with the goal of bringing smiles to the faces of as many young patients as possible.
“It’s not like these kids’ illnesses are in a lockout,” reminded Genevieve Paquette, director of the Canadiens Children Foundation. “This is a time of year where generosity and compassion need to be center stage. No matter what else might be going on, the Canadiens have always remained close to their community and we certainly weren’t going to pass up an opportunity to do some good like this.”
|Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin was on hand for the team's hospital visits on Monday. |
In total, about 300 kids were able to enjoy visits with members of the Canadiens organization. While the children were undoubtedly the focus of the day, their parents also got to enjoy the feel of being kids again by getting to meet players like, Jean-Jacques Daigneault, Sergio Momesso, Rejean Houle and Chris Nilan.
“It really reminds me just how lucky I am to have the life that I do. Situations like this aren’t just tough on the kids. It’s also the parents that have to live with a lot of pain and uncertainty,” explained Nilan. “To be able to come here and be a little ray of sunshine in their day, it’s a great thing to be able to do.”
Canadiens coach, Michel Therrien who got to experience a few similar hospital visits during his previous stint with the Habs, couldn’t agree more.
“Moments like this really make you realize just how privileged you are to have your health. When you see children dealing with illness like this, it hits you hard,” explained Therrien, before underlining that around the holidays, the well-being of kids in these situations comes before everything else. “I also want to take the opportunity to commend all the players that came out on their own will to spend some time with these kids and help brighten their day a little [last week]. We really have a great group of guys that care a lot about this community.”
Donning a festive elf hat for the majority of his visit, Marc Bergevin had similar words of appreciation for members of the team that made the hospital rounds last Friday.
“I’m very proud that those guys came out last week. It was a nice thing for them to have done and I think really showed that our organization on the whole truly have these kids’ best interests at heart,” shared Bergevin, before continuing on to make some new friends. Vincent Cauchy is a writer for Canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane.ALSO SEE:NHL announces cancellation of schedule through Dec. 30 Where are they now? Mats Naslund The Canadiens in pop culture - Music Edition