Oct. 9, 2013
By Christopher Hurley
A pair of Bruins checked into the hospital on Tuesday.
But don’t worry Bruins fans; it was purely a social call.
Fresh off the ice following a morning practice session in Wilmington, Boston Bruin hockey players Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug headed to the Lawrence-Memorial Hospital in Medford, Oct. 8. The pair had a guided tour of the hospital, meeting several members of the staff, while also visiting a dozen patients in different wards.
For the Bruins, making these kinds of trips has almost become second nature.
“We’re just visiting a few of the patients and trying to brighten a few days,” said McQuaid. “For some reason, there’s the odd person that gets excited to see us. It maybe takes people’s minds off what they’re going through. So for us, it’s just nice to be able to do something like that for them.”
McQuaid is no stranger to Lawrence Memorial. The big defenseman first paid a visit in 2012 for a special meet and greet, along with teammate Jordan Caron. This time around he came with Krug in tow.
A rookie defenseman, Krug certainly got a kick out of lifting the patient’s spirits.
“It is kind of funny to walk into a room and for whatever reason get to make people smile,” said Krug, 22 “We’re in a unique position to do that. It’s nice to be able to take advantage of that, just to come out and show our faces and it’s what we’re trying to do today.”
Hallmark Health, a major league provider of quality and advanced community healthcare, joined forces with the hockey stars in 2010, 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 bruising defenseman, McQuaid, 26, is currently in his fifth season with the Bruins, helping lead the team to the Stanley Cup during his rookie year in 2011. The 6-foot-5, 209-pound blueliner plays a highly physical brand of hockey that has made him an instant fan favorite.
Krug, 22, gained instant notoriety during the last year’s Stanley Cup Playoff run. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound blueliner become the first rookie defenseman in NHL history to score four goals in his first five postseason games.
Tuesday’s hour long visit began with a special tour as the players got to meet a dozen patients on several floors, while also greeting the medical staff in the urgent care center, emergency department, radiology and imaging center.
For patients like Michael Howard, of Dracut, meeting the Bruins was a pleasant surprise.
“I liked it,” said Howard. “It was awesome, really cool. They made my day.”
Howard got to meet both Bruins, who signed autographs and posed with pictures with him and his family.
The 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.
“I’ve been a Bruins fan since the early, early 60s,” said James Findlay. “I go way back, past Bobby Orr. I was a kid when I first went to see them when I was about 14-15.”
The longtime Bs fan was really impressed with how the players carried themselves.
“It was nice,” said Findlay. “They’re good kids. It’s nice they come here to see people.They didn’t have too, but its good they came.”
William Doherty, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer for Hallmark Heath System, said the players visit always has a positive effect.
“The patients really love it,” said Doherty. “Some get very emotional about it. It really lifts their spirits a lot. It’s great. Sometimes people get forgotten about when they’re in the hospital, so it’s been terrific that these guys take the time to visit. It’s been a great experience.”
For these Bruins, it’s the least they can do.
“It’s obviously nice to be able to do something like that,” McQuaid said. “It’s definitely nice to be able to try to get people’s minds off of what they’re going through. There are a lot of Bruins fans. We’re very lucky we have a lot of support and its nice to be able to support people in their times of need in situations like this.”
Both players understand that giving back to the community is an integral part of being a professional athlete in Boston.
“It’s very important to us,” said Krug. “We get a lot of support from everyone in the city and it’s a big country full of Bruins fans from all over, so for us to get out and show our faces is important. It’s nice to be able to connect with the fans and people in these situations. It’s nice to help brighten their day if that is the case.”