Canada Question
An Ontario boy is hit by a puck during a Toronto Maple Leafs game

An Ontario boy is hit by a puck during a Toronto Maple Leafs game

An Ontario boy is hit by a puck during a Toronto Maple Leafs game

This is perhaps not how seven-year-old Hunter Beauparlant imagined meeting his idol.

“He was crying and bleeding at the time,” Hunter’s father Steven told CTV News Toronto.

It all started during the warm-up ahead of Saturday night’s Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Montreal Canadiens game at Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto.

“My sons both came up with some characters for the game,” Beauparlant said, “to possibly take a selfie with Nick Suzuki.”

The sign was spotted by Habs forward Nicholas Suzuki, who came over and threw a puck to the young fan.

“He grabs a puck off the ice and throws it over the glass,” he said. “And my son was kind of struck by the stars. He just stared at it and ate it right on his lips.”

Nicholas Suzuki throwing a puck (provided by the Beauparlant family)

A puck to the face wasn’t the interaction the kid was hoping for, but Suzuki immediately tried to make it right. The Canadians’ assistant captain left the ice and came over to make sure the boy was okay. He took pictures and signed autographs with the boys and gave Hunter his cane as a souvenir.

The Beauparlant family had traveled from Nipissing to Toronto for the boys’ birthdays and their first NHL game. After the incident, they watched the game from their 300 seat, stick in hand. But in the third period, when they used the washroom, they said they were informed by arena staff that the cane was a prohibited item and needed to be checked at guest services and picked up after the game.

Beauparlant says he asked if security could take them back to their seats, where he said other fans, including many Leaf fans, were excited and encouraged by the story of his son and the cane, but that they no would have said.

“I think my son just got over it,” he said. “It was game enough and he didn’t want to lose his racquet, so we just said, ‘Let’s finish it – that’s it if we can’t get back to our seats.'”

The family left the arena and went back to their hotel.

Beauparlant tweeted about the incident, which many online understood meant the family was forced to leave the game, but he insists it was their decision.

“My tweet was not disrespect to any Leafs organization or employees, everyone has a job to do, I understand that,” he said.

In a statement, an MLSE spokesman told CTV News Toronto: “With 10 minutes remaining in the game, a fan was notified by security as he was walking through the arena with a hockey stick that MLSE fan services had responded due to fan safety protocols.” would help to check the stick until the end of the game as it poses a security risk to other fans. Whereas in this case the fan didn’t want to check the stick and instead made their own decision to leave the game.”

Beauparlant said that although his family didn’t make it to the end of their first NHL game, they left with some pretty decent birthday gifts and memories that will last a lifetime.

“Seven and eight years old, and they’ve met their idol, and you know they don’t just get a puck, they end up with a bat, a puck, a fat lip and an autograph,” he said.

“This is a pretty amazing first NHL game.”

(Provided by the Beauparlant family)

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