Feb. 10, 2012
By Christopher Hurley
After suffering a disappointing 6-0 road loss to the Buffalo Sabres Wednesday night, a pair of Boston Bruin hockey players made their way to the hospital.
But fret not Bruins fans, this was strictly a social call.
Fresh off the ice following a morning practice session in Wilmington, Bruin players Adam McQuaid and Jordan Caron dropped by the Lawrence-Memorial Hospital in Medford, Feb. 9. The pair had a guided tour of the hospital, met several members of the staff and visited a dozen patients in different wards, before signing autographs for roughly 250 fans in the main lobby.
For the Bruins making these kind of special trips in the community has become second nature.
“It’s always nice to visit people who are maybe going through a rough time and need a pick me up,” McQuaid said. “When people say they appreciate you coming out, that what makes it all worthwhile.”
Arriving back in Boston at one in the morning, followed by a grueling practice session later that day in Wilmington, it would have been very easy for both Bruins to take the rest of the day off. However standing up their loyal fans was never an option.
“To go through a situation where you have a tough loss, like we did [Wednesday] night [in Buffalo], to come here today and see people going through an even harder time and then just to be able to take a few minutes to talk to them and lifts their spirits, it makes you feel pretty good,” McQuaid said. “It gives you a different outlook on things.”
According to Caron, dropping by the hospital was the least they could do.
“It’s always fun to come visit some people that don’t always have the chance to get out to see us,” Caron said. “It’s always nice to come by, say hi and put a smile on their face. It’s very important when it comes to those fans. We have the chance to play in front of big crowds, so its always fun to give back.”
Hallmark Health, a major league provider of quality and advanced community healthcare, joined forces with the hockey stars last season, as the official Healthcare Partner of the Boston Bruins.
The partnership is a natural fit for both Hallmark Health and the team. The local healthcare provider’s orthopedic surgeons and premier Bone and Joint Program provide advanced care, treating orthopedic injuries and disease in people of all ages, including those suffering from sports-related injuries.
A big bruising defenseman, Adam McQuaid, 25, is currently in his second season with the Bruins, helping lead the team to the Stanley Cup his rookie year. The 6-foot-4, 197-pound blue-liner also sported an impressive +30 rating last season, third overall in the NHL and the best among all rookies.
McQuaid has continued to stabilize the Bruins defense in his sophomore season, playing a highly physical brand of hockey that has made him an instant fan favorite. He loves playing in Boston.
“It’s been amazing,” said McQuaid. “I’ve loved every second of it. I’ve had some pretty memorable moments while I’ve been here and I think the fans are amazing people. They’re very loyal to the team, they want to see us do well and in return you want to put a good product on the ice for them.”
Boston’s first pick (25th overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Caron was recently called up to Bruins from its American Hockey League affiliate in Providence, Feb. 4. The 6-foot-2, 202-pound rookie right-winger netted nine points in 12 AHL games before his recall, and is looking to expand on his NHL resume.
Thursday’s two-hour visit began with a special tour as the players got to meet a dozen patients on several floors. For patients like Anthony Lombardo, meeting the Bruins was a pleasant surprise.
“I was just looking forward to going home,” Lombardo said. “But after being told that they were coming down it actually delayed me leaving, because I definitely wanted to see them.”
Lombardo met both Bruins, who signed autographs and posed with pictures with him and his family. It easily made the Medford native and Everett resident’s day.
“This is excellent,” Lombardo said. “It’s a dream seeing the guys that you watched win the Stanley Cup coming in to see you.”
Both players also got to talk some hockey with several elderly patients, many of whom still have vivid memories about the team’s glory years including the Stanley Cup championship teams of 1970 and 1972.
“We were talking to an older gentleman who was reminiscing of the Orr, Esposito, Bucyk era, those days,” McQuaid said. “I think that’s what’s great about playing on an original six team. There’s so much history and people who have been fans for their whole life, and it’s passed down from generation to generation, where people are fans because their parents were fans. It’s pretty to neat to be a part of that.”
McQuaid and Caron are only happy to continue that championship legacy, but know there is plenty of work to be done this season.
“Obviously right now, we have some cleaning up to do in certain areas,” McQuaid said. “We had a bit of a rough start, but then we were able to get things back on track, going on a nice little run. We’re working toward getting back to that and just getting back to playing our game.”
“When we play the way we’re capable of playing, we give ourselves a good opportunity to win every night,” he added. “It’s a long season and you’re not going to win every game, but when we play the way we’re capable of we give ourselves a good chance.”
And that’s certainly something all Bruins fans can agree on.