MONTREAL - After six years of hard work and dedication, Max Pacioretty is thrilled to be seeing one of his major off-ice charitable projects start to come to life.
The Canadiens captain has been involved in philanthropic efforts supporting the Montreal General Hospital through his Max Pacioretty Foundation, and he recently visited the hospital to have a look at the new site for its recently-purchased High Performance Magnetic Resonance Imaging Machine for their Traumatic Brain Injury Centre, a purchase made possible in part thanks to the 28-year-old's Foundation. The equipment is expected to be in operation in July 2018.
"To see it with your own eyes for the first time, you get to see where all this money and this work is going towards," shared the proud power forward when asked about his visit. "To talk to the team and the doctor we brought in about the research they have done and are going to do on the trauma side of things… to see it there and the way it's going to be set up is special. It makes me understand how much bigger this is than what I was able to paint in my own mind."
That doctor is Dr. Reza Farivar, who will be Lead Researcher for the hospital's Traumatic Brain Injury Program.
"The new MRI will be one-of-a-kind in several respects. First, it will be immediately adjacent to one of the most important trauma centres in the country. Second, we will be adding new equipment to drastically boost sensitivity and resolution," explained Dr. Farivar in a press release from the MGH. "This means we will be able to pursue new avenues of research on immediate effects of concussions, and to look at these effects with greater precision."
Pacioretty, whose Captain's Tournament raised $257,440 this year alone, was extremely proud of what the accomplishment would offer to his adoptive city.
"[Dr. Farivar] explained how world-leading it is. The machine is one-of-a-kind with all the applications you can apply to it. There's nothing else like that out there," he continued. "Also, the facility is going to be something that doesn't really exist in many areas, because of the setup where you're able to bring people into that room quickly. Not many trauma centers - if any at all - have a setup where you can get a brain scan that quickly and that thoroughly."
If there's one man in the Canadiens dressing room who understands the importance of quick and effective treatment following a head injury, it's Pacioretty. In March 2011, the then-22-year-old winger was badly hurt after being checked into a stanchion by Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. The New Canaan, CT native was rushed to the MGH's Trauma Centre, which has since been named after the Canadiens' Chief Surgeon, Dr. David Mulder.
"To see [Dr. Mulder] so excited about this, and to explain to me how much of a difference it's going to make, that goes a long way with me," described Pacioretty. "He sacrifices everything in his life for this city and that hospital. To see him explain how important it is and [to see] how excited he is, it means a lot to me.
"It's really exciting to have this world-leading machine and area that can change a lot of people's lives," he concluded.