Members of the Calgary Flames and Calgary Hitmen spread joy and smiles Monday afternoon at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Flames players Blake Coleman, Jakob Pelletier, A.J. Greer and Mikael Backlund created unforgettable moments for the young fans undergoing treatment.
They coloured, made crafts, signed autographs and shared stories with the patients.
For young cancer patient Easton Beach, it was a surprise that turned his day around. His mom, Amanda Mopett-Beatch, said the day started out with some anxiety and tears for Easton, who is battling brain cancer. He is undergoing round three of six chemotherapy treatments.
“Easton is a hockey player and we’re taking the year off unfortunately. And now, for him to sit with his heroes on the Flames… what a way to make his day better,” said Mopett-Beach. “Having a source of joy that’s so unexpected, getting autographs, it’s truly made his day.”
The visit not only brought joy to the children, but also left a lasting impact on the players, who have developed a strong relationship with the Children’s Hospital.
“Being looked up to by these kids, it’s an amazing feeling,” said Greer. “It’s amazing seeing them smile. That’s all we’re here to do is spend time with them and have fun, and take their minds off whatever they’re doing.”
Hitmen captain Tyson Galloway and forward Sean Tschigerl joined the Flames following the annual Teddy Bear Toss game.
Though the Hitmen dropped the game 5-2 to the Prince Alberta Raiders, the charities still won, with 21,233 stuffed animals hitting the ice just under ten minutes into the game.
“It’s really special for us,” said Tschigerl. “It makes hockey so much bigger than the sport.”
This is the first time the Alberta Children’s Hospital and the Flames have been able to do this annual visit in full capacity since before the pandemic.
Child life team lead Sandy Baggott said days like these are significant for families and provide distraction during tough times.
“We love having all the players here,” she said. “It’s an exciting, high-energy day. It breaks up the routine of being in the hospital and creates some positive memories while they are in hospital.”
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