The Canadian | When Suzuki is “just Nick”

Nick Suzuki repeats it often: he doesn’t just want to be known as a hockey player. So on this little Monday afternoon, in a school in Lachine, he made himself known as a guy who also distributes apples and oranges and cheese.

So it was this Nick Suzuki who showed up in the little gymnasium of Maple Grove school, between the wall bars and the basketball hoops and the boxes of balls, also between the rows of young students who were crowded on the floor just to see him, hear him and ask him a few questions.

There were some good ones, for example this young girl who asked him what he ate to be good (we paraphrase). The answer: “As many vegetables as possible, and also proteins…”

The theme of food was also in the spotlight, for a good cause: that of the Goodfood brand, which took advantage of the moment to confirm having crossed the million meals served as part of the Breakfast Club of Canada program. . Suzuki took the opportunity to announce a donation of $10,000 to this cause, in addition to handing over the traditional overly large check that does not fit in an ATM, and on which the magic amount was written.

Just before, a young boy had just asked him his age when he arrived at the Canadian (20 years old is the answer), a reminder that time is running out for Suzuki, who, obviously, is not taking his responsibilities as captain to task. the slight.

“It’s incredible to be able to participate in these kinds of events,” he noted. I want to do my best and help these young people. Giving back to the community is something I want to do now, but also in the future… I would do it even if I wasn’t captain. It’s a great opportunity, it can change lives. »

Between the children’s questions and apples and oranges, a speaker took advantage of his turn at the microphone to compare the 24-year-old player to another captain, from the past, with legendary status to say the least: Jean Béliveau.

Suzuki smiled.

“He was an incredible man, whom I did not have the chance to see play,” he recalled. But I see the memory he left, and it’s also what I would like to leave behind when my career is over. I want to be remembered as more than a hockey player.

“It’s difficult for players to fully understand how much you can touch people. We can have an impact on people’s lives, on these families. I sometimes hear that I changed a kid’s life just by playing hockey… it’s amazing to hear that, and I want to be the best role model I can be. »

And while the young people lined up for a photo, while the school staff did the same, Nick Suzuki understood a little more what his work jersey means in this city and in this province.

Even if it surprises him every time.

“You never get used to that,” he admitted. Me, in my head, I’m just Nick…”

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