Isaac Belliveau was not only a top player for the Oceanic before recently being dealt to the Gatineau Olympiques. The young man was also very generous with his time in Rimouski.
When he was asked if he was interested in visiting sick children at the local hospital, he had his his jersey on in a matter of seconds! That was when the blueliner was asked to take part in an initiative called “The Little Heroes” last year.
Other Oceanic players including Anthony D’Amours, Luka Verreault and Nathan Ouellet joined Belliveau for the project, as they visited sick children from Rimouski’s Regional Hospital. The players had the chance to accompany their new friends throughout their day, during the physiotherapy sessions, but also in their everyday activities.
“When we arrived at the hospital, it was like a Christmas gift for them. They were all smiling”, recalls Belliveau “For many of them, it was a dream come true to finally meet some Oceanic players in person. We were not only guys they saw on the ice anymore, but real human beings, just like them.”
The 18-year-old defenseman confessed that he had a lot of fun with all these little Oceanic fans.
“We were so happy to see them and to have a chance to talk to them. It’s very important for us to see them happy, if only for a few hours. When you see all these sick children, you realize how important good health really is. As athletes, we are very fortunate to be able to play a game we love and not be stuck in a hospital.”
Number 58 grew up with three older brothers in Fleurimont, Quebec so he quickly developed a sense of family and showed kindness towards other people from an early age.
“I think the desire to help other people comes naturally to me. Especially when we’re talking about children. I also love to be involved in my community. It’s really important to give back to the people who are supporting us in such a great way”, says Belliveau.
“That’s how I was brought up. It’s something natural for me. I really like taking care of kids and making a difference in their lives.”
One thing that’s come to Belliveau’s attention since making those hospital visits is that he now realizes how much these kids need the presence of their idols in their everyday lives.
“All the kids were talking about our games and they knew all the stats. We could really see their passion for the game of hockey. We talked about hockey, but also about their lives and their fight to be healthy again.”
One thing’s for sure, Belliveau knows he can have a great impact on many kids.
“They all have eyes as big as loonies when they see us arriving at the hospital. We are literally idols to them. They are a little shy at first, but they quickly come to talk to us.”
Wherever life takes him, Isaac Belliveau says he will always have a special place for kids in his life.
“I really love to be involved in my community, meeting people and all that. But what I love most is going to visit children in schools or in hospitals. If I have the chance, it’s something I want to keep doing for a long time.”