MONTREAL – For the 51st consecutive year, the Canadiens took time out to participate in their annual children's hospital visits. On Tuesday afternoon, Michel Therrien’s troops visited kids at CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital, and the Montreal Children’s and Montreal Shriners Hospital to spread some holiday cheer and pass along words of encouragement to youngsters and their parents alike. Needless to say, it was a significant experience for everyone involved.
"The hospital visit was an initiative started by Jean Beliveau. We’ve been doing it for 51 years already. It’s all a matter of bringing a little magic to these youngsters’ lives and also honouring the memory of Mr. Beliveau by keeping the visits going. It provides just a short break for those children affected by an illness."
- Genevieve Paquette, Executive Director of the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation
"There are days that are more challenging than others. There are days when you don’t get many smiles, and there are days like today where you get tons of smiles. Today is a lot easier than some other days. That’s just the way it is sometimes at the hospital."
- P.K. Subban
"It’s tough to see kids in pain or parents worrying, not knowing what the future may bring. It’s sad. It puts things in perspective and makes you thankful that you have a healthy child. For the kids that are healthy enough that we can put a smile on their faces, it’s great that we can make their day a little better. It’s a good feeling for us when you see that happen. You hear stories about kids that were going through something rough and they’re getting well. That feels good."
- Lars Eller
"It really does sink in more and more as you keep on doing these visits. We might be in the room for just 30 seconds, but putting a smile on a baby’s face by giving them a teddy bear and providing the parents with a bit of a change of scenery means a lot. You get the feeling that it changes their lives a little bit and that we’re making a difference. If that’s what we can offer by showing up, it’s great. That’s why we do these things. Being a parent myself, you’d do anything for your child. That’s a big thing, too. You just wish the best for these kids. We want to give them hope."
- Tom Gilbert
|Alexis Dionne met up with his favourite player on Tuesday, spending some quality time with captain Max Pacioretty at CHU Sainte-Justine. |
"It was a very cool experience. My favourite player is Max Pacioretty. It made me feel good to meet him. It made me happy."
- Alexis Dionne, a patient at CHU Sainte-Justine
"Alexis had been here for 12 days. We thought everything was taken care of, but we’ve been back for four more days. It’s very scary. A day like today makes a world of difference for her."
- Melanie Simard, Alexis’ mom
Interviews conducted by Matt Cudzinowski and Elise Robillard.