There was a party on P.E.I.
NHLer Brad Richards takes Stanley Cup to pediatrics ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital
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.’’
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.
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.