The NHL bye week gave hockey players a chance to rejuvenate and refresh themselves for the upcoming stretch run that leads into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Some players, like Maple Leafs’ Auston Matthews, Freddie Andersen, and Morgan Rielly used the week as a chance to get their minds away from hockey and take some time to relax and get their bodies and minds right before the level of play really amps up.
Most player’s would relish the opportunity to get out of town and take some time off away from the game, but not for Oilers forward Jesse Puljujarvi, who decided to skip out on any tropical destinations and remain in Edmonton while his Oiler teammates soaked up the sunrays.
The man they called “pool party” decided to take part in some outdoor hockey with two local kids at an outdoor rink. What started out as a regular game of shinny quickly turned into a memory that these boys will surely never forget. Luckily, one of the young boys was wearing a go pro, and managed to record some raw footage of the Oilers young Fin.
What an experience for Eric Ripka and Logan Green! Imagine being that age, going out for a skate, and seeing one your favourite players show up to play with you.
We can't highlight the class exemplified here from Puljujarvi enough. The Oilers haven’t given their fans much to cheer about this season, and you can take it to the bank that these two fans endured one of the best moments of their lives.
Even though he was probably only there for an hour it so, it’s extremely cool to see a professional athlete just casually kick it with a couple of youngsters. Remember, Puljujarvi doesn’t speak the best English, but based on his big smile and love for the game, you know communication wasn’t an issue. After all, Puljujarvi is only 19-years-old, and it wasn't that long ago that he was in their position.
Just look at the big smile on Jesse and the young boys’ faces.
Good on you, Jesse, for being a great sport. Take note, NHLers, it's community appearances and fan engagment like this that can make players become fan favourites.
(h/t CTV Edmonton)