HANOVER, N.H. – The Dartmouth men’s hockey team participated in two of its annual community events in recent days as it hosted its annual ‘Skate with the Big Green’ in conjunction with the toy drive for the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD).
The ‘Skate with the Big Green’ event was Sunday afternoon with fans both young and old alike. From long-time season-ticket holders to local hockey teams, the Thompson Arena ice was littered with nearly 100 people for over an hour, including the 26 Dartmouth players who returned home from a road weekend in the New York Capital District just hours before.
During Sunday’s activities, numerous fans donated new, unwrapped toys for the team’s annual CHaD Toy Drive.
The players gathered Monday morning at Thompson, filled their cars with bags of toys, stuffed animals and board games and made their way over the medical center to deliver the generous donations from the day before.
For over two hours, the players went room-to-room, delivering gifts to kids currently receiving treatment. They sat in groups and played games of Sorry, Candyland, Jenga and more, or just helped some of the youngest patients there fill pieces of paper with a plethora of stickers.
One young man, Jacob, was celebrating his 8th birthday on Monday and went from shy, reserved and wanting to stay in his room, to the 27th member of the Big Green by the end of the visit. A 10-year girl who had been there in the past for another visit from the team was excited to see a return trip from the Dartmouth group, playing Uno and other card games with the likes of Troy Crema, Kevan Kilistoff and Nick Bligh for nearly an hour.
James Kruger, Devin Buffalo and Tim Shoup spent over an hour with one young two-year-old girl, keeping her entertained just by rolling a ball and playing with a toy phone. Kyle Nickerson nearly formed a rock band with one boy, while Ryan Bullock and Charles Grant spent nearly the entire time in one room, playing games with another boy.
Geoff Ferguson, Brad Schierhorn and Carl Hesler were involved in lengthy games of both Sorry and Candyland with one young girl, while Tim O'Brien, Josh Hartley and Brett Patterson took on Jacob in a heated Sorry game at the other end of the hallway.
“This is always one of our favorite days as a team,” Patterson said. “We love to come and talk to and play with the kids and maybe help them forget about being sick or injured, even if it’s just for an hour or two.
“I know they tell us that the kids are so excited that hockey players are coming in to visit, but I think we get as much — if not more — from it than they do. This is one of the events we do every year that really sticks with us and makes us all realize just how fortunate we are,” Patterson added.
Once again, the entire Dartmouth hockey team and staff thank their fans and community members for their role in making this annual event a tremendous success. Without your generous donations and participation, this event would not be the success it continues to be every year.