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Pat Lafontaine

St. Louis Children's Hospital

In conjunction with the 2017 Bridgestone Winter Classic Game, the National Hockey League partnered with the Companions in Courage Foundation to leave a special legacy gift to the pediatric patients at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Pat LaFontaine was joined by Blues legend Brett Hull and current Blues players Alex Pietrangelo and Robert Bortuzzi to open the Lion’s Den Room on Wednesday, December 14, 2016. 

This marks the 7th time that the NHL has collaborated with the CiC Foundation around one of their signature events to leave a legacy gift in their host city. This room features multiple PCs, two Xbox consoles, a large screen “smart” TV, special LED lighting, Blues memorabilia and a Wii play station. A live Google Hang-out was held in conjunction with the opening, linking patients in a Lion’s Den Room at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, to the patients and celebrities in St. Louis.

Blues broadcaster Chris Kerber hosted the press event in St. Louis that included remarks from Blues Chairman Tom Stillman and the hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer Peggy Gordin. The Blues President/CEO Chris Zimmerman also was on hand for the unveiling, as was St Louis Blues mascot, “Louie!” 

"Along with the NHL, St. Louis Children's Hospital and Companions in Courage, we are honored to be a part of such an impactful initiative," said Stillman. "The Legacy project will bring a sense of comfort to countless young adults by helping them stay connected with their loved ones." 

Gordin expressed how grateful the hospital was for the partnership with the NHL and the Blues, and for their legacy gift. She said, “This room will serve as a beacon of hope for our children as we seek new and innovative ways to provide the best patient experience.” In prepared remarks, Joan Magruder, President of St. Louis Children's Hospital added, “We anticipate this energizing environment will expedite our children’s healing and help move them back toward home and their normal, everyday lives faster than before." 

This opening also had very personal and special meaning to Pat LaFontaine. He was born in 1965 in a suburb of St. Louis. He even took some time on the morning of the Lion’s Den opening to visit the rink in Kirkwood where he first put on double runner blades. He said, “I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t get pretty emotional visiting the place where my dad first put me and my brother on the ice. Lots of great memories came flooding back.” 

The hockey hall of famer added, “I always hoped that Companions in Courage could one day give back to the place where I was born. I am thrilled that this year's NHL Winter Classic Legacy project will introduce technology to the healing process for pediatric patients for years to come." 

The St. Louis Children’s Hospital Lion’s Den Room was developed from a design created by ESI Design in New York. The room was fabricated, shipped and installed by Art Guild of West Deptford, NJ.

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