by Karoline Zacharer | AHL On The Beat Archive
The Portland Pirates players made the trip up to Camp Sunshine on the shores of Sebago Lake in Casco, Maine this past Thursday. It was a snowy, gray day outside, but indoors was filled with smiles and laughter from campers and Pirates alike. Players toured the camp, posed for pictures with kids and camp volunteers, and participated in a game of floor hockey.
Nine players made the trip north: Dan O’Donoghue, Joel Hanley, Mark Louis, Greg Carey, Philip Samuelsson, Henrik Samuelsson, Darian Dziurzynski, Phil Lane, and Patrick McNeill.
Camp Sunshine is a retreat in the beautiful Sebago Lake region of Maine where children with life-threatening illnesses and their families can go and relax. The Camp has one-week sessions with about 40 families attending each, all of them attending free of charge. Camp Sunshine hosts sessions year-round with activities like swimming and hiking in the summer, and skating in the winter.
"Camp Sunshine is a wonderful facility and program. What they offer to children and their families that are going through some tough times is remarkable. It is exciting for us to be able to be a part of the experience for these kids and the players had a blast with the kids today," said Brad Church, the Pirates’ Chief Operating Officer.
One of the highlights of the visit was the floor hockey game between campers and the Pirates. The kids were excited to show off their skills against the professionals. One boy, Stephen, who is in remission for leukemia, was able to use impressive stick work to get upwards of six goals past Pirates defenders and goaltenders.
The Samuelsson brothers served as opposing goalies, but when it was all said and done, decided they should stick to their given on-ice positions.
The Pirates have gotten involved with Camp Sunshine in the past. This summer’s Charity Golf Tournament raised $10,000 for Camp Sunshine, and players have visited the facility in the past.
Overall, it was a great day with laughter and smiles warming up the cold day.