COWAN: The Canadiens’ Suzuki outdoes itself for young fans


Eight-year-old Hunter Beauparlant, who was forced out of the game in Toronto after getting a souvenir stick, will be Suzuki’s guest at the Bell Center on Saturday.

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Young Canadiens fan Hunter Beauparlant will be able to see his favorite player, Nick Suzuki, play live for the second time Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

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This time he will be allowed to stay until the end of the game against the Washington Capitals (7 p.m., SNE, CITY, TVA Sports, Radio TSN 690, 98.5 FM).

As a birthday present for his two sons — whom he calls the “Irish twins” — Steven Beauparlant bought three tickets to last Saturday’s game in Toronto against the Maple Leafs. The family – including mother Cynthia – drove four hours from their home in Sturgeon Falls, Ont., and booked a hotel near Scotiabank Arena.

It was an expensive trip for the family, but it seemed like the perfect birthday present for the boys, who had never seen the Canadiens play in person. Hunter turned 8 on Friday and his brother Jaxen will be 9 on May 4. They are big Habs fans, just like their father.

The boys made signs to take to the game in Toronto that included a birthday wish list: go to Chuck E. Cheese restaurant, attend their first NHL game, take a selfie with Suzuki and go on TV .

While their seats were on the third tier of Scotiabank Arena, the boys were allowed by an usher to descend to the front row behind the glass for the pre-game warm-up with their signs. Suzuki spotted them and posed for a selfie. Hunter then flipped his sign, saying it was his first NHL game and asking if Suzuki would play rock/paper/scissors for a puck or a stick.

Suzuki smiled and threw a puck over the glass.

“I guess my son was a little starstruck and just stared at the puck floating in the air and it hit him right on the lip,” Steven recalled in a phone interview a few days later. “His tooth went through his lip, so he was bleeding and crying.”

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Suzuki noticed what happened.

“Being such a class act, he was worried and he came to my son right away,” Steven recalled. “I went from hugging Hunter to make him feel better to saying, ‘Here’s Nick Suzuki coming to see you.'”

Suzuki brought the two boys over to see him where the players come off the ice, posed for a photo with them, autographed their Habs hats and gave Hunter his stick.

“He totally saved the day,” Steven said. “If Nick kept skating at that time, my son will probably want to go back to the hotel because he’s in pain. It was a bit surreal.

It also seems unreal what happened after the second period.

The boys had to go to the bathroom and Steven wasn’t going to let them go alone. When a security official noticed them with the stick, Steven was informed that they weren’t allowed to have the stick in the arena as it could be used as a weapon. They were given the option to check the stick with fan services until the end of the game or leave the arena.

“It was unfortunate,” Steven said. “Hunter wouldn’t give up his stick and I don’t blame him. So we left and the security followed us. … When we were followed, I was a little upset. But, at the end of the day, my son was happy and that’s what matters.

The following day, Steven posted photos of the boys on Twitter, tagging the Canadians and noting that they had to leave the game early because of the stick. The story started doing the rounds on social media and Suzuki noticed it and sent Steven a direct message. Suzuki said if the boys were interested in coming to a game in Montreal, he would prepare something for them. Steven thanked Suzuki and said the boys would like to go to the Bell Center for the first time.

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Suzuki then spoke with Chantal Machabée, vice-president of communications for the Canadiens, and three tickets were provided for Saturday night’s game. There are also other surprises planned for the boys.

When asked what he loves so much about Suzuki, Hunter replied, “He’s fast, he’s really nice. He scores a lot of goals and he wins a lot of face-offs.”

Steven said he can’t thank Suzuki enough for what he’s done for his boys.

“I hope he doesn’t think he should ever do that again,” Steven said of throwing a puck over the glass or handing a young fan a stick. “The kids look up to these guys and having him take a picture with my kids and look them in the eye means the world to them. It’s just above anything we could have ever dreamed of.

“The children are delighted to go see a game at the Bell Centre,” added the father. “There’s no way we’re leaving early on this one. I told Hunter he couldn’t bring his bat, but he could bring his baseball glove in case another puck hits him. would be launched.

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