© Guardian photo by Brian McInnis
Hockey star Brad Richards of the Dallas Stars has donated $500,000 to the pediatric unit of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Watching as Richards signs a thank you note that will hang in the unit are, from left, Sandy Bernard, ward clerk in the pediatric unit and pediatric nurses Pam Burey, Holly Morrison and Libba Mobbs.
Brad Richards is well known to Islanders for his accomplishments on the ice but it was what he did off it Monday that will have the greatest impact on families in he NHL superstar's home province.
As the Dallas Stars NHL training camp was winding down on the Island, Richards stopped in to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and announced a $500,000 donation to help purchase medical equipment for children.
The donation will be invested in perpetuity and the income each year will be directed, after engaging Richards' and his family, toward medical equipment for the hospital to help children.
Richards, supported by family and members of the Stars organization, made the announcement in front of a packed QEH cafeteria about an hour before the team's plane was set to leave for Dallas at 2 p.m.
The humble Richards said he was overwhelmed with the amount of people that showed up for the donation announcement.
"I'm blessed to do what I do and I've always had involvement with kids," Richards said during the announcement.
Allan Morse, chair of the QEH foundation, said Richards' gift is one that will keep giving in perpetuity.
"When you can give a gift of any nature it's wonderful but when you give a gift that does not stop giving it means a tremendous amount to the children that will benefit from the equipment that will be bought and it's just a wonderful day for our community."
Richards said the donation was also in honour of his late cousin, Jamie Reynolds.
Reynolds passed away at the age of 7 with a brain tumor in 1989. He and Richards, who was nine years old at the time, were close friends and members of the Reynolds family were also present.
"We're always thinking about him and hopefully this is a good way to honour him, Richards said.
"I kinda wanted to have something that's like they described, that can last forever and kinda have a legacy in honour of my cousin Jamie."
Also on hand was a special quest, Nathan Ryan, a Grade 4 student at St. Jean Elementary who is receiving ongoing treatment at the hospital.
Over the weekend, Ryan got meet his hockey hero, who also purchased tickets for him and his family to attend the intra-squad game on Sunday.
"That was the best day of my life," Ryan said during the announcement.
Before leaving the podium, he had a special message for Richards.
"Brad guess what, you are my favourite hockey player. Good luck this year and I'll be cheering for you."
After the announcement Ryan helped Richards unveil a hockey net with a sign that read: Thank you Brad Richards from Island families.