Ottawa Senators scoring big with patients at CHEO
Published Tuesday, December 18, 2012 4:54PM EST
There was a little NHL action in Ottawa today. Not on the ice but rather in the hospital.
A few Ottawa Senators players forgot the lockout, and at least for an hour or so, focussed on another issue near and dear to their hearts.
For many of the players, it's become a yearly tradition just before Christmas; a trek to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) to put aside their troubles and more importantly, help some sick kids forget about theirs.
"Alot of them in are in for some big fights and for us to be able to cheer them up makes us feel good," says Ottawa Senators' Defenceman Chris Phillips. "They give us a lot back by showing us how positive and determined they are going through what they are."
For 17-year-old Brody Froats, the days are long. Froats has spent the last eight weeks in the hospital with no chance of getting out before Christmas.
"Chris Phillips! I'm your best fan," Froats shouts as he spies Phillips in the crowd. This year with the NHL lockout, many of the Senators players are scattered around the world, trying to skate where they can. Still, seven players, including new defenceman Marc Methot came to spread a little cheer.
"Even though they might not come close to even recognizing me at all,” says Methot, “at least they can remember the goofy guy in the room with them so it's good."
"They love the game, they love the team and they're big fans,” adds Phillips, “and hopefully soon they'll have something to cheer about."
Phillips is referring to the NHL lockout, now in its 14th week. So far, 526 regular-season games have been cancelled through to December 30th.
Few of the children at CHEO today were bold enough to approach the issue of the lockout with the players.
"Alot of them are shy, says Boston Bruins Centre Chris Kelly, a former Senators player. "I'm sure if we give them a couple more minutes, they'll be talking lockout."
In fact, 14-year-old Butch Butler went one step further than that by offering a little advice to the players. "My guess is they don't like it as much as I don't like it," says Kelly, referring to the lockout. "I feel the lockout has been causing the NHL a lot more than it would if they were to keep the season going."
And Brody Froats, of course, couldn't resist adding his thoughts on that.
"I just want the Senators to play again," he says.