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Muller: Giving back to a special city

Funds raised from the second annual Kirk Muller & Friends Golf Classic on Tuesday brought a unique initiative to life

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

LAVAL - Associate coach Kirk Muller showed some serious love for Montreal and the Montreal General Hospital on Tuesday.

All of the funds raised at the second annual Canada Life Kirk Muller & Friends Celebrity Classic at ClubLink's Club de golf Islesmere were donated to officially establish the Kirk Muller Scholarship in Trauma.

The goal of the initiative is to identify young healthcare practitioners interested in pursuing careers in trauma care and provide them with the tools to rise to the level of expertise required by the community - whether through education, research or clinical activity.

The idea was born after Muller consulted with team doctors - Dr. David Mulder and Dr. Dan Deckelbaum - both of whom specialize in the trauma field.

"I wanted to do two things with this scholarship. I wanted to thank our doctors because I know how much they do behind the scenes that people don't see, and I wanted to do something that would help Montreal. We want to be one of the best places in the world to handle trauma situations, and this is a great opportunity to continue that growth," said Muller. "When people do need trauma care in Montreal, we want to be at the top in terms of dealing with it. We have great medical people, so let's keep building on that and supporting them in their work."

The Montreal General Hospital, as part of the McGill University Health Centre, is one of three centres of ultra-specialized trauma care for adults in the province of Quebec, and the only one located in downtown Montreal.

It responds to emergencies around the clock, and brings together nearly 40 medical and paramedical disciplines.

Each year, it receives approximately 10,000 trauma victims, including more than 1,500 patients presenting severe injuries, so the need to further expand the capabilities of medical personnel is of critical importance.

"Trauma is a leading cause of death in Canada. It's something we need to address," affirmed Dr. Deckelbaum, a member of the Canadiens' medical staff since 2011. "We have extremely specialized teams at the Montreal General Hospital - surgeons, anesthetists, nurses, emergency physicians and respiratory therapists, professionals that are committed towards trauma and making sure we live in a safe community and that your chances of survival are maximized. Every second counts in this area. But, we need education, research and training to give them extra support so that if something happens to one of your loved ones, they will get the best possible care to improve the outcome."

The Canadiens have a longstanding history with the Montreal General Hospital, of course, and Muller has a great deal of admiration for the incredible dedication of their staff members.

As someone who proudly considers Montreal to be his second home, the Kingston, ON native and former Habs captain was thrilled to help bring this project to life.

"I see our doctors every day. I see what they do for our team. These people are the superstars. They're the Yvan Cournoyers, the "Rocket" Richards and the Guy Lafleurs of this community. They do things without asking for anything in return. They do it because they take pride in their work and they're very passionate," praised Muller. "This is a move in the right direction."

Dr. Deckelbaum is certainly in agreement there.

"The sky's the limit with this scholarship and Kirk has the vision to grow it even further. It's all about giving back to the community," said Dr. Deckelbaum. "The beauty of the program is that it serves the local community, but we can also share that expertise around the world, which is an incredible opportunity to give the know-how that we have to those that may not be at that same level. It's just amazing to see that the history of the Montreal General Hopital and the Montreal Canadiens goes beyond hockey."

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