Blue Jackets make ailing Montreal boy’s day

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News
MONTREAL, QC - OCTOBER 17: Mark Letestu #55, Fedor Tyutin #51 Cam Atkinson #13 of the Columbus Blue Jackets celebrate the third goal of the game against the Montreal Canadiens in the third period on October 17, 2013 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

An NHL team recently went above and beyond to make a young Canadian boy's day.

Nicholas Gagne, 10, has a degenerative muscle disorder known as Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The Montreal boy makes annual trips with his family to Columbus, Ohio, to be seen by specialists at Nationwide Children's Hospital.

In August, his trip to the hospital led to a chance meeting with some Columbus Blue Jackets players.

During his appointment, he mentioned that he wanted to visit the Nationwide Arena. A nurse called the Blue Jackets Foundation director and quickly set up a visit with a few of the players who live in the city during the off-season.

It didn't end there. The players agreed to a second meeting — one during the regular season.

Last Wednesday, Nicholas met the entire team, hung out in the dressing room and watched the Blue Jackets practice. He needed his father, grandfather and sister's help to carry all the sticks, pucks, posters and hats the team gave him.

"Here's a little guy who’s had some pretty bad days in his lifetime. We wanted to bring him in and make him feel good," Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards told the Columbus Dispatch.

"This is incredibly surreal," Nicholas' mother, Stephanie Arena, said. "It was crazy when it happened in Ohio. Beyond belief. Magical. And now it's even more unbelievable. These guys — this whole team — has done something for us that I can’t ever repay. There aren’t enough thank yous. It means so much to him."

Nicholas and his family stayed for the game against his other favourite team, the Montreal Canadiens.

"We've always loved the Canadiens," Arena said. "But he's a big Blue Jackets fan now. I can't imagine there's a bigger one."