The Pittsburgh Penguins annual visit to Pittsburgh UPMC Children’s Hospital has been going on for so long that no one was quite sure how many years. One organizer knew at least eight. Others upped the total. The fight for some parents and children in Children’s Hospital is not easy. For every quick fix and ticket home is another child who has a far more difficult path to health.
The injured Penguins know all about doctor visits, but Monday afternoon, it was they who were there voluntarily spreading a little holiday cheer, a few autographs and gifts, too.
Though there was one little guy, perhaps 18 months old, who was not on the visitation list and for a good reason. Wearing only a diaper, he walked to the door to see several Penguins players, several more photographers, and staff in the hallway. As his parents were surprised by the potential visitors, he smiled proudly…as he shut the door.
He’s probably a Flyers fan.
Most kids were thrilled to see their heroes, as Patric Hornqvist displayed superior knowledge of Frozen characters to jumpstart the conversations. Though some took a few minutes to warm up to the sudden attention.
And lest you think some of the players do these things for attention or PR, the best move of the day came from Patric Hornqvist who politely told the non-player entourage to wait in the hall, so the players could spend extra time with a few families who were big fans. “You guys don’t need this,” he said.
Little two-year-old Danni won the cute award as she pointed to Tristan Jarry…or the door.
Justin Schultz couldn’t help but get sucked into a hardcore game of peek-a-boo with four-year-old Charles. We must admit, if it were an Olympic sport, Charles would be a strong contender.
Where’d he go?!
Sophia is six-years-old. Last Saturday night, Jake Guentzel was hit by a teammate in the first period and slowly went to the bench in pain. According to her parents, Sophia yelled, “No! Jake-N-Bake has to be there in January!”
She clearly knows the Penguins injury troubles. Recently, she received a tour of the locker room courtesy of Kris Letang and will meet Guentzel again in January.
And the young guys were sent to fetch some light bulb grease. Or wait for a big surprise downstairs.
This little man loved the attention. At three, he was a world-class conversationalist. He also offered to share his coloring book and pencils with anyone who wanted to stay.
Justin Schultz with the first-class fist bump.
The Penguins interrupted poor Brayden’s nap. However, all was well when the boys offered to take a picture. Brayden sprang from the bed like the offer had an expiration date.
Little Evie is five-weeks old. She declined further comment.
Speaking of poor and tired…the Pirates were also represented. Maybe someone didn’t get the memo the hockey guys were coming?
PHN wishes to thank the staff of Children’s Hospital for allowing us to tag along on this amazing day.