An annual tradition, the visit to the Children’s Hospital is a big day for kids and for the hockey players that visit them. The Winnipeg Jets made the outing on Wednesday, December 7, when 13 players, three coaches, and Mick E. Moose visited the Children’s Hospital in Winnipeg.
“It’s an important day,” commented Jets defenceman Ron Hainsey
. “It’s important for us as players, it’s a lot of fun for the kids, and it’s a day that most of the guys look forward to. Especially around the holidays, it seems to have even more importance. “
As part of the holiday visit to the Children’s Hospital, the Winnipeg Jets Hockey Club donated 50 gift bags filled with toys, stickers and books to the children at the hospital.
The visit means as much to the players as it does to the kids. “We get a lot out of it too, just like the kids,” said Hainsey. “The kids are excited, and for us, seeing the look on their faces is all you really need.”
“It feels great,” beamed Jets forward Chris Thorburn
. “It’s a great way to give back and spend some time with the kids and put smiles on their faces.”
The Winnipeg Jets also donated three Apple iPads, which will be important tools to help the kids learn and develop while at the Hosptial.
Leisa Sianchuk, Executive Director of the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba explained the importance of the day. “It’s about putting smiles on kids’ faces, and that’s what is happening today,” said Sianchuk. “Kids in the hospital are here because they are really sick, and at least for one afternoon they can forget about why they are here and enjoy being a kid.”
“Just for that afternoon they don’t have to worry about what’s coming next and why they are here,” continued Sianchuk, “They can forget about that and just be kids. Maybe even be treated a little bit more special than other children because they actually get the opportunity to meet the Jets up close and personal. I think it even helps for the healing process of the child.”
A day like this has a meaningful impact on the players. “It shows how fortunate you are,” explained Chris Thorburn
. “You just count your blessings, and it’s a great way to put your feet back on the ground and realize how good you have it. These kids are great and they’re living their lives to the fullest, and that’s nice to see.”
Jets’ Head Coach Claude Noel put things in perspective, “We at times take things for granted, and I think this is special for us because we can try to bring a little joy to peoples lives. They look up to the players, and we just hope we can bring a smile to their face.”
“It makes me appreciate every day that I’m around,” said Noel. “I’ve been through these things before. When people close to you and dear to you get sick, you have a new appreciation for how you want to live your life.”
“I don’t take anything for granted, and I’m appreciative for every day that I’m around. I’ve learned that lesson some time ago. For me, this is another day in that process, and if I can give more to somebody than I’m happy to do that.”
For more information about the Children's Hospital Foundation of Manitoba visit www.goodbear.mb.ca