Jordan Oesterle recently made a virtual visit to the Phoenix Children's Hospital. He played games, distributed Coyotes gifts, and socialized with some of the kids.
The Coyotes defenseman was unable to visit in-person, of course, but was appreciative of the opportunity to make an impact.
"With the Coyotes Foundation, we always like to give back to the community," Oesterle said. "We're really involved with the Phoenix Children's Hospital. So, with the circumstances that we're in right now, to still be able to interact with the kids, play games, and visit their rooms, it's a cool experience. It was something that I was grateful to get the chance to do."
Instead of visiting in person, Oesterle controlled an Ohmni Labs robot from his home. It showed his face on a screen. The robot wore a Coyotes t-shirt and held a stick and puck.
"I got to be on a robot that I wasn't very good at driving around," Oesterle said. "I was running into some walls and stuff, but it was pretty sweet to see the technology they have to [allow us] to still be able to visit the kids and interact. So, it was definitely a cool experience. I've never done any of those robot things."
His novice operational skills produced plenty of laughs, especially when the kids asked him to spin in circles.
"My driving skills weren't very good," he said with a chuckle. "The last thing I wanted to do was break something.
"We played a 'Wheel of Fortune' hockey trivia game. I helped the kids if they didn't know the answers. After we played, I was able to try to drive the robot around and deliver some of the prizes that the kids had won. I got to interact in their rooms, hang out, and try to establish some type of normal."
Oesterle delivered Coyotes stickers and pucks and was impressed by the kids' hockey knowledge. "The kids surprisingly knew the majority of [the answers], so it was good to see."
The 27-year-old emphasized the importance of utilizing the "virtual" option, especially in this time of quarantine and confinement.
"I think it's huge," he said. "Everyone's lacking that socialization, everyone's cooped up in their homes. With these visitations, maybe their parents are coming in to see them, but they're not able to see their brothers and sisters or extended friends and family. So, to be able to go in there and interact and hang out, and like I said to have an old sense of normal of interacting and socializing, that was fun."
At the end of the day, the visit brought joy. Even if he ran into a couple of things in the process.
"It was just as if I was walking in, and maybe even more smiles than if you're walking in, say, there physically," he said. "It was a cool experience for them to see this robot with my face and a Coyotes shirt on trying to drive in there. It was fun to have a little more time than we normally do to hang out with them and just talk."
Photos courtesy: Arizona Coyotes Foundation