Michael, 7, of East Meadow was excited when he received a hockey stick as a holiday gift because it was not just any present--it was given to him by Matt Donovan, a defenseman of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Donovan and defenseman Aaron Ness visited Nassau University Medical Center's pediatric unit on Monday and distributed gifts to more than 30 children.
The New York Islanders hockey operations staff and players from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, their American Hockey League affiliate, traveled across Queens and Long Island on Monday and delivered holiday toys, took pictures and signed autographs for young patients.
The hospital visits were sponsored by National Arbitration and Mediation (NAM).
"This is an awesome feeling," 22-year-old Donovan said. "Anytime we can come out to help the kids, it's great."
Michael spoke to Donovan about his love of hockey as his grandmother, Shirley, watched and smiled.
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"When you get back on your feet and the spring comes you have something to look forward too," she told Micheal.
Ness, 22, spoke to Micheal's twin sister, Halle, who is also a patient, about her favorite television shows.
"This is a real treat for us to put smiles on these kids faces and wish them Happy Holidays," Ness said.
Ness and Donovan met children of all ages--from 21-days-old to 19-years-old.
Six-year-old Jose was very excited when the two came in his room which was filled with his family members. Jose had a big smile as a number of cameras clicked.
"I really wish we can do more of this," Ness said.