For the past three years, the Vancouver Canucks have been unable to visit Canuck Place due to a number of reasons, with the COVID-19 pandemic being the most obvious one.
Elias Pettersson made a visit in December 2020 to go sing Christmas carols with Michael Buble, but other than that, it’s been tough for the players to get a visit in during the pandemic.
But on Tuesday, Tyler Myers and JT Miller got out to Canuck Place to build some gingerbread houses with sick kids.
Both Myers and Miller joined the Canucks in the summer of 2019, and not too long after, the NHL paused its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This meant that Tuesday’s visit to Canuck Place was Miller and Myers’ first time getting out there.
During their time as players, Daniel and Henrik Sedin became synonymous with giving back to the community, and could often be seen on days off spending time with the kids at BC Children’s Hospital.
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Obviously the twins set the bar high, and this new wave of Canucks were ecstatic when they got the green light to start returning to the community and finally had enough of a lull in their schedule to get out and make some visits.
“It was an amazing experience,” Miller told CanucksArmy. “To go to share a couple hours of our time with some of the people there was really special. I got to spend some time with my man Tyler over there and build a gingerbread house with him.
“You know, they go through a lot of rough things in life and sometimes it’s not fair. For them to be fans and to see the babies there, you realize that there’s a lot more going on than wins and losses here at the rink. It makes me feel like a human again to get out of here, and it’s something that I really love to do. Just to put a smile on their face and a smile on mine as well — we had the masks on, but I was grinning ear to ear the whole time building the gingerbread house. I’m glad we got the opportunity to go out there.”
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“It’s been too long and I had heard about it through the other guys,” Myers added. “It’s nice to finally get out there and spend a little time with the kids and their parents. It was fun.”
And it wasn’t just Myers and Miller that have spent time out in the community recently.
With the Canucks having just two games last week, Tanner Pearson, Sheldon Dries, and Spencer Martin paid a visit to Ronald McDonald House, while Jack Studnicka and Dakota Joshua went to Edmonds Community School to read books with students before the holiday break.
Regardless of what’s happening on the ice, the players are welcomed with open arms and often some pretty starstruck faces when they go and do these visits.
And according to Miller, this is sometimes a great way to escape the pressures of playing in a market like Vancouver.
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“It’s nice to get away from the rink sometimes. We’re human beings first,” said Miller. “We’re family members first. You’re a dad, you’re a spouse, and hockey’s our job, and we always have to try to remember that as human beings.”