"This is one of my favorite days of the year," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "It's definitely one of the highlights that I circle on the calendar and look forward to all year. Whatever stressful things you're going through in life, or what we think is stressful are nothing compared to what these families and the kids are going through."
Avalanche players, coaches, mascot Bernie and the Ice Girls visited patients' rooms, distributed Bernie plush animals, signed autographs, took pictures with the children and their families and, most importantly, talked with the kids to help brighten their day.
The players and coaches were broken into five groups and visited the young patients in different units of the hospital, including cancer, cardiac, orthopedics and surgery. Many of the players and coaches also put on masks and gowns to visit patients in isolation rooms.
Landeskog was one of the players who donned the garb and had a good conversation with a young boy about Xbox and Parkour while in an isolation room.
"We had a good talk, and we were chatting for a good bit that I forgot about the guys moving on," Landeskog said. "It was fun talking with him."
While some of the scenes the Avs players and coaches saw made it tough at times, for the squad to see the children smile and forget about what they are dealing with helped brighten their day as well.
"It's tough to see when you're here, but it warms your heart to see these kids smile and laugh," Landeskog said.
"It was definitely a good day."
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