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Canucks' Jay Beagle plays road hockey with kids from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside
VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver Canuck gave a group of lucky kids from the Downtown Eastside a special holiday treat when he visited them for a game of street hockey.
Jay Beagle, a Canuck forward and former Stanley Cup champion, played the game in Strathcona's MacLean Park near East Pender and Heatley streets on Thursday afternoon with children from the Union Gospel Mission community.
"It’s always a blast when I get to come to different organizations especially ones like Union Gospel Mission," said Beagle. "It does so much good for the community."
Jeremy Hunka with the UGM said lots of families in the Downtown Eastside don’t necessarily have the opportunity to go to hockey games or other professional sporting events, so Beagle’s gesture was greatly appreciated.
"Honestly it means so much to us and to the kids and their families that Jay came down today," he said. "To have the Canucks and Jay make this gesture to this community and our kids means the world. It is absolutely amazing."
Hunka said the invitation was extended by the UGM to the Canucks, and they were incredibly grateful Beagle accepted.
"This is an amazing opportunity for them to actually to be with a Canuck and play street hockey. They’ve dreamt about this before. They never really thought it would happen," said Hunka. "It makes me smile because I know how much this means to them."
Beagle had the opportunity to tour UGM’s facility prior to the game and said he was grateful for the opportunity to visit the organization.
"Just to see how much good they do for the city of Vancouver, it’s amazing," he said. "So it’s awesome just to be a part of it."