What Makes A Wrangler?

See more PHOTOS Under Teddy Bear Distribution Album 2014

When one hears the label “hockey player” many things come to mind. We think of athletes, strong, fast, and skilled, perhaps a stereotypical attitude of overconfidence or bravado. We think of how well a player can dangle or deke, whether he can find the top shelf, if he’s the team enforcer, how often he lights the lamp, if he’s got stone hands, if he’s a sniper. If I were to take a poll on things that describe hockey players, all of these would likely come up. However, tonight I’ve got my own list to share; kind, caring, thoughtful, generous, joyful.

Today wasn’t just any Thursday. Today was teddy bear delivery day. The morning started up at Fisher Place where our young men made us proud. They connected with the residents there and brought some very welcome joy to a season that’s difficult for many. Even the toughest characters there eventually made room in their hearts for the boys.

Later in the afternoon the Wranglers headed to the hospital to share greetings and come carols with patients. What started out as a couple of monotone lines of Jingle Bells quickly turned into a full (somewhat in tune) chorus line that one couldn’t help but grin at hearing. For about an hour our boys made the rounds singing, chatting, and brightening the days of those around them. The final part of this tour involved a special visit with an incredibly brave little boy named Justice. Justice just underwent a treatment that any adult would find difficult, and our boys wanted to wish him a very special Merry Christmas.

Though he was a little shy with the boys, (when you’re three, 25 young men can be a little intimidating) his eyes lit up and he pounced on the giant teddy that our captain offered him. To be in that room was a thing of magic. These tough hockey players were transformed into the most caring and gentle group of young men I have ever seen. After giving Justice and his sister Serenity teddy bears from the team, and a hat specially signed by all the players, the boys tied the bow on it all by singing not only Jingle Bells, but Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as well. In that moment it truly felt like my heart would burst from my chest. I don’t recall ever feeling so proud.

To cap off the day the boys headed out to Canim Lake to enjoy a community dinner and continue sharing.

So the next time you’re at a game, cheer for our boys not only because they’re our team and we want them to win, but because they are upstanding young men.