The buzz was palpable as the students of Mary Jane Shannon Elementary filed into their school's auditorium for a surprise assembly Thursday morning. Rumour had it that a hockey player would be visiting the school for something and children were left guessing who exactly it would be.
Would it be someone from the local Surrey Eagles? A homegrown hero such as Colin Fraser or could it even be a Canuck?
The kids didn't have to wait long to see, as Trevor Linden, Mr. Captain Canuck himself, casually strolled into the auditorium, much to the delight of those gathered.
Arriving at the school to present a donation of $2,500 on behalf of the Trevor Linden Foundation and the Vancouver Sun's Adopt-a-School campaign, Linden wasn't just there to present a cheque, he was also there to get down to business.
With stick in hand, Linden took part in an impromptu game of floor hockey, taking on some of the school's Grade 7s in several three-on-three matches. Given his size, Linden opted to stick to tending his team's net, doing his best Kirk McLean and Roberto Luongo impression.
"I should've been a goalie," laughed Linden during the match.
Following the hockey, Linden presented the donation to the school, bid his farewells and let the students get back to their studies.
"They were tough, they made me sweat," said Linden shortly afterwards. "When you come to a school like this and you see the excitement and enthusiasm of the kids, to be able to make a difference in their lives is a pretty special thing to do, especially at this time of year."
Grade 7 student Danni said it was "awesome" to be able to play with Linden.
"It was really fun, and I love the Canucks so it was really exciting," she said. "He was a good goalie. He let a goal in, but that's okay."
For Linden, who will be opening a new fitness club in Surrey in the New Year, the donation was a chance to show that even small businesses can make a difference in their communities.
"(This is) a message to all businesses, small or large, that they can make a difference in their own backyard," he said. "Some of the needs of these schools for specific programming are pretty small and they allow any person or small business to make a difference and that's cool. It's not the big corporations, they too make a difference, but as a small business owner you can also make a difference and it's nice thought."
As for what the money will be used for, Mary Jane Shannon principal Lois Layton said the funds would be used for providing students with winter clothing, such as boots and coats.
"We had sent in a request because have many students at our school that aren't often able to come equipped during the winter months," said Layton. "We're just so appreciative. It just shows what a public personality Trevor is."
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