Bruins visit St. Mark’s Senior Living

Bruins Visit St. Mark’s Senior Living

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(ABC 6 News) – It might be cold outside, but it’s nice and warm inside St. Mark’s Senior Living in Austin.

The residents here got a warm welcome from the Austin Bruins hockey team and got to do some fun activities together.

Sports are competitive, but they are also fun.

“It’s great trying to get back to our community and, and coming in with these guys and having fun,” said Austin Salani, said Bruins captain.

But for Bruins players, the activities they took part in at Saint Mark’s Tuesday morning were all about engaging with the locals.

“To have as much community outreach as possible. Uh I think it’s really important,” said Bruins alternate captain Ocean Wallace. “Obviously, the town of Austin and the community here is really tight knit, which is awesome to play in and play for.”

One of those locals is Leanne Mitchell. She used to enjoy bowling when she was younger. She’s not able to bowl in her current condition, but using a ramp, it took her back to doing what she loved.

“I have been bowling since I’ve been six years old”

At one point today, she got three strikes in a row though. She was used to scoring pretty high back in the day, peaking at 225.

Don Opseth is another resident at Saint Mark’s who didn’t get many opportunities to play sports. Growing up,

“My parents didn’t want us kids to be in sports,” said Opseth They’re afraid you’d get hurt and then there’d be another hospital bill and all that”

In recent years, he has been making up for lost time. Don has children who played basketball and football, a love that sport passed down to one of his grandkids.

“I think my eight year old grandson might get a kick out of seeing his grandpa and just get up,” said Opseth He’s a hockey player too.”

For caregiver Tanya Minto. She loves seeing activities like this become normal again after two years of not being able to have them due to the pandemic

“When we didn’t have no activities and didn’t have anything going on for those residents, it was very depressing,” said Minto. “We couldn’t even hug these residents.”

Now, Minto and the rest of the staff can fulfill the dreams of residents and channel those memories.

“I love my job and my job is seeing these residents having a smile and laughter,” added Minto.

While the activities may seem simple to many, it’s a community engagement that sticks with the players.

“The, the residents here, really enjoy us coming and we enjoy coming and playing games and seeing the smiles on their faces and that engagement,” said Salan.”

And initiative of the players is already having its impact on residents.

“I think this Bruin hockey team, because I had, we had this today, I’m gonna be watching them more and cheering them on. I think they’re a great bunch of guys,” said Ospeth