MONTREAL –The holidays are right around the corner and while Christmas decorations are lighting up buildings and homes around the city, Canadiens players were lighting up many kids’ lives at Montreal’s two pediatric hospitals on Monday afternoon.
Split into two groups, half the team spent the afternoon at the Montreal Children’s Hospital, while the rest headed off to Ste. Justine Hospital. Making their way throughout the various wards, the players stopped in each room with gift bags and cards in hand for some quality one-on-one time with the young patients. While getting presents brought smiles to the kids’ faces, just having the Habs in their rooms was a hit on its own.
“To spend a couple of hours with these kids and to be able to cheer them up is amazing,” said Mike Komisarek. “For us and for them, it’s incredible how far a little smile goes.”
Monday’s trip marked the 43rd year that the Canadiens have been spreading the holiday cheer. The annual visits aren’t new for most players and although it’s not always easy, the players wouldn’t have it any other way.
“It’s tough, especially when you have kids like I do, but it’s fun,” said Steve Begin. “You realize how lucky you are. You see the twinkle in these kids’ eyes and just how happy they are when they see us.”
Clearly, the children aren’t the only impacted by this community initiative.
“It was hard in my first year, but I’ve gotten used to it,” admitted Christopher Higgins who, for a third straight year found himself visiting the ICU, neo-natal, hematology and oncology wards. “We get to open our eyes and get a different perspective on life. Everyone thanks us but really it’s our pleasure.”Heather Engel is a writer for canadiens.com