After yesterday's practice in Nationwide Arena, four players -- Rick Nash, Jason Chimera, Jared Boll and Freddy Modin -- walked down the hallway from the dressing room and into a room where dreams came true.
Flashes of Hope, a non-profit organization, hires photographers to take high-quality portraits of children fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The idea is to help kids deal with their changing appearances by celebrating it. For families with terminally ill children, it's a keepsake.
The parents, too. Judging by the scene outside the makeshift photo gallery, there were lots of happy moms and dads.
The kids love Jared Boll, the tough guy. They're blown away by Modin's towering size. They relate very well to Chimera, an overgrown kid with a similarly bald head.
"And then Rick walks in the room," Modin said, "and the kids go crazy."
Now that is making a difference.
This is an excellent example of what it means to be a positive role model in childrens' lives (take note Pacman, Vick and the Bengals). You rarely hear about the great things hockey players do for their communities, whether it be in Columbus or elsewhere. It is always the athletes in the negative light. Bettman and the NHL, you want the sport to grow? Take note of our boys in Columbus. They are shining examples of positive role models.
These guys have, from day one, gotten involved in the community, with the children, and have had an overall major impact upon the city. The really sad part is a lot of people do not recognize it. Naturally, if you are reading AP's blog, you know the things our Jackets do for the kids and around the city. I am speaking in general terms here.
Being born and raised in the great city of Columbus, I know that sometime immediately after birth the scarlet and grey was transfused into my blood, like most everyone else here. And I love my Buckeyes, don't get me wrong. However, the Buckeyes are a transitional team, and they always will be. Where will Beanie be after our bowl game? How about Laurinitis? The same place all these guys go after their senior year. Our Jackets will still be here (a few new faces from season to season), but this is our team! Win or lose, this is our team.
I just wanted to say thank you to these guys for everything that they do. Flashes of Hope, Hats for Heroes, building of the parks for our communities, and bringing the sport of hockey to a grander stage. Keep up the great work... on and off the ice!
Well said Gregg!