Smiles and laughter filled the Zone as Minnesota Wild players answered patients' questions in the Star Studio. Twelve-year-old host and former patient, Riley Malmstedt, informed the players that they all had a question written on a hockey puck under their chairs. As answers were shared, everyone learned more about the players, such as defenseman Marco Scandella’s appreciation for firefighters and forward Charlie Coyle’s holiday traditions in Boston. Forward Erik Haula expressed his passion for video games, and defenseman Jonas Brodin talked about his favorite childhood toy--Buzz Lightyear! After each player had a chance to share, Riley revealed one final puck with a question for patients and families: “Will you please sing Jingle Bells?” The Zone was filled with holiday spirit and elation as the players applauded the joyful singing.

Players then signed autographs and spent time challenging kids to games of floor hockey, air hockey, and bubble hockey.

Other Minnesota Wild players who shared the holiday spirit with the patients, families and Minnesota Children's staff are: Nino Niederreiter, Mikko Koivu, Matt Dumba, Kurtis Gabriel, Tyler Graovac, and Christian Folin.

“It was incredible watching these players connect so well with our patients and families,” said Child Life Zone Coordinator Steph Smith. “The awesome time they spent together created such meaningful memories.”

The Child Life Zone at Children's Minnesota is a part of the Teammates for Kids Child Life Zone Network of 11 Child Life Zones at pediatric hospitals across the country. Each zone is staffed by certified child life specialists who help children and their families cope with difficult medical challenges through play, education, and self-expression