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About Sickkids
About SickKids

December 18, 2010

He scores! SickKids wins! Prime Minister gives young patients air hockey table

SickKids patient Kaitlyn O'Brien plays air hockey against Prime Minister Stephen Harper
SickKids patient Kaitlyn O'Brien plays air hockey against Prime Minister Stephen Harper

The crowd in Marnie's Lounge fell silent as the puck dropped. On one side of the table was Kaitlyn O'Brien, age 14. On the other – Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

The puck flew back and forth across the table as O'Brien and the Prime Minister were locked in a fierce competition for the first goal. A cheer erupted as the first goal went to Team SickKids captain O'Brien.

The inaugural game was played on The Hospital for Sick Children's (SickKids) new air hockey table, a personal gift from Prime Minister Harper. An avid hockey fan and hockey historian, choosing the gift was a simple decision for the Prime Minister. This gift is a welcome addition to the Child Life program in Marnie's Lounge.

“Playing hockey in any form – ice, ball and table – is a Canadian tradition and a great way for kids to connect with each other,” said Prime Minister Harper. “I was happy to be able to give SickKids the intangible gift of play along with the table.”

“Marnie's Lounge is a place where kids can be kids,” said Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO of SickKids. “The importance of spending recreational time with family is a key component of the family-centred care we provide. We're thrilled to have the air hockey table, and grateful to the Prime Minister for his generous holiday gift.”

Marnie's Lounge is an entertainment area with video games, board games, computers and movies. Air hockey is one of the more popular activities in Marnie's Lounge and the Prime Minister's gift will be replacing an older and worn-out table.

A young boy decorates a Gingerbread house while Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks on.
A young boy decorates a Gingerbread house while Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks on.

After the game – won by O'Brien with a score of 2 to 1, the Prime Minister was presented with a hockey stick signed by patients and sat down to meet with the families. “O'Brien played a good game,” said Harper. “Impressive goaltending.”

O'Brien shared the compliment. “It was a great honour to play air hockey with the Prime Minister,” O'Brien said. “It was great of him to donate an air hockey table for all the kids who visit SickKids.”