It’s a birthday trip the Beauparlant boys will likely never forget, one that netted them an encounter with their hockey hero, Nick Suzuki, and a personal invitation by the Habs’ forward to attend a Montreal Canadiens home game against the Washington Capitals this coming weekend at the Bell Centre.
The adventure began April 9 when Hunter, age 7, and brother Jaxen, age 8, took a trip from Sturgeon Falls to Toronto with their Dad Steven Beauparlant, to attend their very first NHL game between their favoured Habs and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The trio, dressed in their Canadiens jerseys and ball caps at the Scotiabank Arena, home of the Leafs, got to the game early to watch the warm-up close to the ice. The boys held up colourful signs they had made asking for a selfie with their favourite player. Suzuki took notice, skated up to Hunter and sent a puck his way over the glass.
The young fan was “starstruck,” says his father, so much so that he just stared at the puck and it hit him on the mouth, causing a fat lip and some tears. Suzuki immediately showed concern, coming off the ice to check on Hunter and offering some pretty compelling consolation: that sought-after selfie along with an autograph and his own hockey stick.
“Jaxen and Hunter’s first NHL game was one we will never forget! Hunter got his selfie and probably was on TV, he left with a fat lip, stick and puck from superstar Nick Suzuki,” beamed Beauparlant after the game. He called Suzuki a “class act” who “came over immediately and wanted to make sure Hunter was ok.” As for Hunter, the initial pain was soon forgotten. “He said the fat lip was worth it,” says the proud dad.
Beauparlant took photos and video of both Hunter and Jaxen with Suzuki as he thanked the player for his generosity. The three fans then watched the game excitedly – at least the first two periods.