Brock Badgers spread holiday cheer at St. Catharines hospital

The Brock men’s hockey team had an experience so heartwarming Wednesday it could melt the ice they normally play on.

Brock Badgers defenceman Connor Walters, left, made the day of a young patient in Niagara Health’s Children’s Unit during a holiday visit to the St. Catharines site on Dec. 5.

The Badgers paid a visit to the Children’s Health Unit at Niagara Health’s St. Catharines site, on a mission to bring holiday cheer to the little ones inside.

Head coach Marty Williamson accompanied forwards Jared Marino (Niagara Falls), Ryan Burton (Thunder Bay), Frankie Pucci (Sault Ste. Marie), Ayden MacDonald (Langley, B.C.) and defenceman Connor Walters (Welland) as they went room to room while handing out high-fives, Brock apparel and water bottles, but more importantly, spending time visiting with children.

“This is an especially difficult time of year for kids to be in the hospital. They’re missing events going on at school and with their families, so when we can bring in special visitors like this, it brightens their days,” said Niagara Health Child Life Specialist Lori Marino. “The kids enjoy it. Brock is an important part of our community and for example, this visit today, it can make a difference in the lives of kids who are in the hospital.”

The Children’s Unit consists of 24 beds and provides a full range of pediatric services to children up to age 18. The unit is specially designed for younger patients and their families, with vibrant colours found throughout, a play room, artwork on the walls, special lighting and other unique features.

An intensive care unit, also referred to as a special care nursery, provides services for newborns who require close observation, care and assessment.

“These are great things we can do as a team off the ice. If we can cheer up a child who is in the hospital, there’s no better way to use our time to give back,” said Williamson. “A lot of kids like hockey, so it’s a natural connection for us to have with the kids. I think it’s a great growth experience for our players.”

The Brock men’s hockey team visited the Children’s Health Unit of Niagara Health’s St. Catharines site on Dec. 5. Back row, from left to right: Ayden MacDonald, Frankie Pucci, Connor Walters, Ryan Burton and head coach Marty Williamson. Front row: one of the young patients visited throughout the day and Jared Marino.

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