SAN JOSE, CA -- Hospitals can be scary. So can sharks. But on Friday, January 10th, patients and San Jose Sharks players discovered that combining the two isn’t scary at all. After a strong Sharks win against Detroit the night before, #10 Andrew Desjardins, #15 James Sheppard, #32 Alex Stalock, #38 Bracken Kearns and #43 John McCarthy teamed up with the Sharks Foundation and El Camino Hospital to create a memorable, scare-free afternoon for young patients at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at El Camino.
The visit kicked off with a trip to the hospital’s activity room, where the players chatted with shy, but excited patients around a table piled high with coloring books, games and puzzles. After learning that one little boy had a penchant for face painting, Kearns, Desjardins and Stalock volunteered to be his muses. They exited the hospital later that afternoon with a Cyclops eye, the child’s specialty, painted brazenly across each of their foreheads.
As part of the NHL’s “The Biggest Assist Happens off the Ice” campaign, each patient was provided with a luxuriously soft hockey-themed blanket as a keepsake. Photos and autographs were also in high demand as the players patrolled the halls of the hospital wing, stopping in each room to share special moments with every child and teen. Smiles and laughter could be seen and heard as friendships were forged and new hockey fans recruited.
As the visit came to a close, the players lingered at the hospital entrance, expressing gratitude to the hospital staff and clearly not eager for the experience to conclude. “Andrew and I are so grateful to everyone who made this day possible,” remarked Mandy Desjardins. “Helping bring a smile to the faces of these children is a special feeling. I hope this visit made as much of a positive impact on their day as it did on ours. Seeing their spirits shine through the tough times has inspired us.”