There was a party on P.E.I.

NHLer Brad Richards takes Stan­ley Cup to pe­di­atrics ward at Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - SPORTS - THE GUARDIAN dstew­art@theguardian.pe.ca Twit­ter.com/DveSte­wart

Josh Tweel of Strat­ford said he’s al­ways dreamed of touch­ing the Stan­ley Cup.

The 16-year-old A level hockey player had just fin­ished treat­ment for a brain tu­mour when Corn­wall na­tive Adam McQuaid won it with the Bos­ton Bru­ins in 2011 and brought it to the Is­land.

Tweel fi­nally got his chance on Tues­day when Mur­ray Har­bour’s Brad Richards paid a visit to the pe­di­atrics ward at the Queen El­iz­a­beth Hos­pi­tal. Richards and the Stan­ley Cup spent close to two hours with chil­dren and their fam­i­lies.

“It was re­ally ex­cit­ing just to see the Stan­ley Cup and I got to touch it,’’ Josh said, clearly over­whelmed by the op­por­tu­nity to pose with the tro­phy and Richards.

The Strat­ford teen was di­ag­nosed with a brain tu­mour when he was 13 years old but has been in re­mis­sion for the past two years.

“I missed one year of hockey be­cause of treat­ment,’’ he said.

Shel­don Tweel, Josh’s fa­ther, said it says some­thing about the kind of per­son Richards is that he would spend two hours with the kids de­spite only hav­ing the Cup for 24 hours.

“To me, it shows that Brad is think­ing about oth­ers,’’ Shel­don said. “Five years ago when my son won the ban­tam AAA (ti­tle) Brad ac­tu­ally came to a house party and shook hands with the kids. He just showed up.

“When we think of Brad we think of some­one who is giv­ing back. It’s the small things like that that mean so much to these kids.’’

Richards didn’t want to do an in­ter­view, telling The Guardian that it was all about the kids. He wanted the at­ten­tion on them.

But, it was ev­i­dent on the Mur­ray Har­bour na­tive what it meant to him. As his wife, Chelle, looked on, Richards was all smiles with the kids and in­ter­acted with them ef­fort­lessly.

“Wow,’’ said five-year-old Al­cide Costard af­ter Richards helped lift him into the bowl on top of the Cup.

“This is a once-in-a-life­time ex­pe­ri­ence, that’s for sure,’’ his fa­ther Gene said.

Al­cide was at the QEH on Tues­day for a dou­ble trans­fu­sion.

His mother, Alana, said he suf­fers from a con­di­tion where his bone mar­row is fail­ing, along with other un­der­ly­ing health is­sues such as a kid­ney disor­der.

“Brad Richards is a won­der­ful hu­man be­ing,’’ said one of the nurses in pe­di­atrics who got a lit­tle emo­tional at see­ing all the smiles on the lit­tle faces.

Dr. Mitchell Zel­man, a con­sul­tant pe­di­a­tri­cian and deputy chief health of­fi­cer for P.E.I., said even though Richards has had plenty of time in the lime­light the NHLer gets it.

“It’s about the kids. Brad is a hero to give some time for the kids,’’ Zel­man said. “This is re­ally what it’s all about. The kids have been look­ing for­ward to this mo­ment so, so much and Brad is very good to give his time and en­ergy . . . to get out of his busy sched­ule . . . and give back to the kids (who are) the most vul­ner­a­ble part of the pop­u­la­tion.’’

Another par­ent said it was sim­ply a wel­come dis­trac­tion from all the health is­sues. Zel­man agreed. “It’s a very good dis­trac­tion. (The kids) were very ex­cited that they could meet some­body fa­mous, some­one who is into good things.’’

BRIAN MCIN­NIS/THE GUARDIAN

Five-year-old Al­cide Costard is just the per­fect fit for the Stan­ley Cup when Brad Richards, right, brought the tro­phy to the pe­di­atrics ward at the QEH Tues­day. The hockey star, who won the Cup with the Chicago Black­hawks this spring, brought the NHL tro­phy to his home­town of Mur­ray Har­bour and af­ter par­ty­ing in that town went to the hos­pi­tal to give some young­sters a chance to see the cup and have their photo taken with him.

BRIAN MCIN­NIS/THE GUARDIAN

Dr. Mitchell Ze­man, pe­di­a­tri­cian at the QEH, might be liv­ing a child­hood dream as he lifts the Stan­ley Cup over his head Tues­day when Brad Richards vis­ited the chil­dren’s ward at the hos­pi­tal.

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