The news can be depressing at times. Thankfully, the sports world usually isn’t.
Yahoo Sports is taking a weekly look at the true spirit of sport — the highlights that will warm your heart and the acts of kindness that go beyond the game.
Come on. Let’s take a load off together.
Blues’ Robert Thomas gives family of 11 that had their house burn down new hockey equipment
This summer of 2019 has been a rollercoaster of highs and lows for the Hanlon family of Imperial, Missouri.
It began with Colleen, her husband — Tim — and their nine children watching their St. Louis Blues knock off the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals to claim their first championship in franchise history. It was also around the same time that the family found out a tenth child would be on the way, according to Chris Pinkert of stlouisblues.com.
Then, one day after attending the Blues’ championship parade, their lives were flipped upside down. While at a family outing at the lake, they were told their house had gone up in flames and very little could be salvaged.
Colleen and Tim are thankful that nobody was hurt as a result of the blaze, but the months since have been a struggle as they’ve lived with friends and relatives and leaned on the community to get by, according to Pinkert.
Upon catching wind of the story, Robert Thomas knew he wanted to do something to help. So, the 20-year-old forward from Aurora, Ont., decided to pay the Hanlon family a visit at their temporary rental home on Wednesday afternoon.
“I heard about what happened right after the parade,” Thomas told the family shortly after his surprising arrival, according to Pinkert. “We decided to stop by and we have a gift bag for you, and if you come outside, we've got some new hockey gear for you.”
Thomas, who will enter his second season in the NHL after being a crucial part of St. Louis’ bottom six during their march to Lord Stanley’s mug, presented the Hanlons with street hockey nets, sticks and plenty of street hockey balls to play with.
“I can't even imagine what they went through with the fire,” Thomas said. “To be able to help out in the little way that I can, bring them some happiness, it really makes you feel good inside.”
On top of his gift, the former London Knight and Hamilton Bulldog joined the family for a few games of street hockey and signed a bunch of memorabilia.
“Sometimes good things can come from bad stuff,” said Colleen about the experience, according to Pinkert. “To see so many people like Robert and our community come forward and help us, it means the world to us. It's a huge, huge deal. It's incredible.”
Odell Beckham Jr. surprises high school football team with new cleats
It’s been nearly a decade since Chaney High School has had a football team.
Yet, when the squad from Youngstown, Ohio hits the field for their program’s first game since 2010, they’ll be looking good and have a Cleveland Browns wide receiver to thank.
During a tour of the Browns’ training facility in Berea on Tuesday, the team was surprised by Odell Beckham Jr., according to Fox 8 Cleveland.
The three-time Pro Bowl selection didn’t just want to give the youngsters a photo opportunity, though. He ensured every single one of them left with a pair of his Nike Air Max 720s.
It’s the kind of day that was likely summarized by the group with words such as “wicked” and “lit”, if we had to guess.
Blues general manager, coaches bring Stanley Cup to St. Louis children’s hospital
It’s been a summer full of giving back for members of the St. Louis Blues while they enjoy their time with the Stanley Cup around the world. Whether it’s been the team’s captain Alex Pietrangelo bringing the trophy along to his visit with the Blues Special Hockey Club or Ryan O’Reilly reuniting with his 99-year-old grandmother during his day with it, that silver mug has resulted in plenty of smiles on the faces of people that have seen it.
On Monday, Doug Armstrong — the team’s general manager — and the Blues’ coaching staff, including head coach Craig Berube, spread a few more grins at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis.
The group ventured from room to room throughout the day to pose for pictures and provide patients with a very special experience, according to NHL.com.
“Oh. My. Gosh. Oh my gosh,” said one young girl to some laughter as she laid in bed and touched the Cup. “This is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.”
Teddy bears and other Blues-related memorabilia was also handed out to the young fans throughout the day.
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