As a kid there’s nothing better than getting a new toy, John Tavares said.
That’s one of the reason the New York Islanders captain returned to Cohen Children’s Medical Center for his ninth year as part of the Islanders’ annual visit.
“I don’t think any kid should be in the hospital especially during the holidays,” Tavares said. “We just come and try to brighten up their day.”
Tavares was joined by four of his teammates, Jordan Eberle, Johnny Boychuck and Casey Cizikas. The hockey players helped kids pick out toys from piles that lined the walls of the playroom.
Six-year-old Karina said she was excited about her new Flipzee Girl doll she named Kitty.
Seven-year-old Kahmel didn’t just get a toy, he also got to play a few rounds of air hockey with Cizikas. Kahmel was even winning against the Islanders center, but Kahmel told reporters he thinks it’s because Cizikas was distracted.
The Islanders players also went room to room delivering toys to other children across the floor who weren’t feeling up to going to the playroom.
The toys are purchased with funds from the Islanders Children’s Foundation, according to an Islanders spokeswoman. The players pick the toys out themselves, according to the spokeswoman.
In addition to the toys, each child gets autographs from the hockey players and Islanders sunglasses.
While it’s a small gesture for kids going through tough times, Boychuck said, it’s fun to bring a smile to their faces.