Ottawa Senators left wing Tim Stützle and Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario child life specialist Michèle Taché have been named the NHL's "Rookies of the Month" for February.
Throughout the 2020-21 season the NHL is celebrating the remarkable efforts of the off-ice stars who make it possible for us to play our games amid a pandemic by honoring frontline healthcare heroes from the regions represented by the League's weekly and monthly "Stars."
Taché recently retired after working as a child life specialist at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) for more than 36 years.
Specialists such as Taché help infants, children, youth and families cope with the stress and uncertainty of acute and chronic illness, injury, trauma, disability, loss and bereavement. They provide evidence-based, developmentally and psychologically appropriate interventions, including therapeutic play; preparation for procedures; and education to reduce fear, anxiety and pain.
Their role has taken on even more importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which they have continued to work bedside with patients since playroom gatherings currently are not possible.
Taché spent her career helping heal children through the power of play.
"I've always been a kid at heart and I truly believe it's because I spent my days at CHEO being inspired by the children and youth there," Taché said. "Their energy, enthusiasm and resilience; to witness that every day was a privilege. They kept me young."
Stützle led rookies with seven assists and 10 points in 14 February games (3-7-10) to edge Minnesota Wild teammates Kirill Kaprizov (4-5-9 in 8 GP) and Kaapo Kahkonen (5-1-0, 1.99 GAA, .927 SV%) and Chicago Blackhawks teammates Kevin Lankinen (6-2-1, 2.94 GAA, .917 SV%, 1 SO) and Pius Suter (3-4-7 in 13 GP) for "Rookie of the Month" honors.
Stützle registered a pair of multi-point performances, factoring on all three Senators goals in a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens Feb. 4 (1-2-3) as well as picking up 1-1-2 in a 7-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs Feb. 18. He also scored the decisive shootout goal in a 5-4 comeback victory against the Canadiens Feb. 23.
The 19-year-old Viersen, Germany, native - who in October matched Leon Draisaitl as the highest German-born and trained player selected in the history of the NHL Draft (3rd overall) - has played in 21 total games this season, ranking among the top three rookies in points (2nd; 14), assists (t-2nd; 9), shots on goal (3rd; 50) and goals (t-3rd; 5).