It’s not unusual for Canadians to be hockey fans. Recent surveys show hockey is still the #1 sport for fans in our neighboring country to the north. But it is somewhat unusual for Canadians to be Columbus Blue Jackets fans. Naturally, most Canadians are fans of Canadian hockey teams. But one little hockey fan staying at The Ronald McDonald House stands out from his fellow hockey fans back in his hometown of Marionville, Ontario. 10-year-old Tristan, a minor (youth) hockey league player himself, is actually a fan of our very own Columbus Blue Jackets. Sergei “Bob” Bobrovsky is a big reason he’s such a fan of the Blue Jackets. The 29-year-old Bobrovksy is a goaltender for the Blue Jackets who was given a lot of credit for the saves he made in the 6 games against the Washington Capitals during the National Hockey League playoffs last month. One of the highlights came with his record-setting — and game-stealing — 54 save performance in game 2 of the match up. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to save the team’s trek toward a Stanley Cup showdown. Despite winning the first two games of their series against the Capitals, they just weren’t able to advance past the first round of the playoffs.
Like any CBJ fan, Tristan was disappointed when the team’s road to the Stanley Cup ended a few weeks ago. He also wasn’t excited about making his third trip in 3 years down to Nationwide Children’s Hospital for treatment. Seeing his favorite hockey team – and his favorite player – in the second round of the playoffs would have been something that would have excited him on this trip. Especially if he were somehow able to watch the CBJ in person on the team’s home ice at Nationwide Arena. Tristan’s mom, Melanie, says Tristan, “has had a hard year health-wise.” She says yesterday was particularly difficult for him, but that didn’t stop Tristan’s coach back in Canada, from trying to make Tristan’s trip to Columbus special this time. Tristan plays for The Russell Warriors, a minor hockey team in Ontario. The Warriors’ coach contacted a friend who put Tristan’s parents in contact with Kathryn Dobbs, Executive Director of the CBJ Foundation. And although Bobrovsky and other players are out of town, Dobbs was able to arrange for Stinger, the Blue Jackets mascot, to visit Tristan here at the Ronald McDonald House. Not only did Stinger visit, he brought donuts, a poster of the Columbus Blue Jackets team, a stuffed CBJ toy, and A CBJ JERSEY AUTOGRAPHED BY #72 HIMSELF, SERGEI BOBROVSKY! Tristan was so excited, it inspired him to dance with Stinger! And, if that weren’t enough, Stinger also challenged him to a little one-on-one basketball in the backyard of the House.
So although Tristan wasn’t able to see his beloved Blue Jackets and his favorite player make it to the Stanley Cup this year, thanks to Tristan’s coach back in Canada and the CBJ Foundation, this visit turned out to be one of the best this Canadian hockey fan has ever had in the United States!