After Team Canada beat Team Sweden early Sunday morning in the gold medal final at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, Lack, a native of Norrtälje, Sweden, knew it was going to be a long few days.
His cell phone didn’t stop buzzing Sunday, pre-practice Monday he was ribbed by his Vancouver Canucks teammates and post-practice Lack had to face the media to discuss the game.
A visit to BC Children’s Hospital should have been a break from the Olympic chirping for Lack. Then he met Kade.
Since finding out early Monday morning the Canucks were making their annual BCCH visit, the seven-year-old sat waiting. He waited, waited and waited some more, focused on the joke he had prepared for Lack, and not the ulcerative colitis he’s battling.
With Kade in protective isolation, Lack couldn’t enter the room, but just being at the door to greet one of his biggest fans made both their days.
“Hi Eddie,” Kade grinned.
“Hey buddy, it’s great to see…”
“I’ve got a joke for you!” Kade said, as he excitedly cut him off.
“I can’t wait to hear it buddy. Shoot.”
“Eddie, what time is it in Sochi?”
Lack stood in silence, pondering his answer. “Gold o’clock,” Jason Garrison laughed under his breath.
Before Lack could reply, Kade unveiled the answer.
“Three past Henrik Lundqvist!!!”
Room 11 in ward 3F erupted in laughter, mostly from Lack.
The 26-year-old Canucks goaltender had never visited the BC Children’s Hospital before and on this day he was one of more than 20 players, including injured forward Mike Santorelli, who made the trip.
Anyone who hadn’t had a flu shot wore a surgical mask (hospital’s orders), so Lack couldn’t hide his wide-eyed reaction to the difficulties many of the children he visited are facing.
Normally outspoken and boisterous, Lack was quiet and reserved throughout most of the tour, alongside Jannik Hansen, Brad Richardson, Chris Tanev and Garrison.
Kade’s joke changed everything, for both guys.
“It really puts it in perspective that yesterday I was cheering for who would win a medal and I thought that was so important,” said Lack. “These kids and staying strong and knowing they can overcome their illnesses is what’s actually important.
“Having never been here before I didn’t know what to expect, but knowing I helped make their day a little better, and that I made them smile, is great.”
For Kade, the visit with Lack and the Canucks was so overwhelming he went to sleep moments after they left.
His grandma, eyes still filled with tears, did her best to explain what the visit and the lasting memory mean for Kade, but she struggled to put it into words.
What we do know is Kade is from Kelowna, this is his third visit to BC Children’s Hospital, he plays soccer and hockey and he can tell a mean joke.
Kade’s rough days will hopefully be a little easier going forward, while Lack’s rough days no longer compare.