Over the course of a long NHL season, through the wins and the losses, it’s easy to lose sight of the little things that make hockey so great.
On Sunday night at the Canadian Tire Centre, we got another reminder of the power of sport and the incredible role hockey is playing in the community around us.
Nisrene, or Nizzy as she’s known to her friends and family, is just like any other kid. Except when she was just nine years, she was bullied. There were days when she would come home from school in tears.? It got to the point that it was starting to impact her mental health. Her parents felt helpless.
Then she discovered hockey.
It was through hockey that she found an escape and more importantly, through hockey, she found a connection to her community.
And now at 15, Nizzy is giving back to that community.
Whether it’s helping kids learn how to skate through the City of Ottawa, providing support to local summer camps and kids with special needs, raising awareness for Do It For Daron or teaching young kids in her neighbourood how to play hockey (and many times giving her own equipment away to kids that would otherwise go without), Nizzy is a leader in every sense of the word.? She even received her school’s citizenship award for her work in helping recent immigrants with their transition to a new school.
And on Sunday, Air Canada and the Ottawa Senators recognized her efforts and gave Nizzy and?her family a night they would never forget.
First, they were picked up at their house and driven to the game. Air Canada looked into flying them there but the landing in Lot 9 can be a little tricky.
When they arrived, the Ottawa Senators had the red carpet rolled out.? They had a chance to tour the dressing room, they met with Head Coach Guy Boucher and they even had a quick visit with her favourite player, Matt Duchene.
If not for the last minute call up of Erik Burgdoerfer, the Senators may have actually asked her to fill in on the blueline.
If that’s not enough, there was one more big surprise waiting.? Through the #ACFanFlight promotion, Air Canada surprised Nizzy with an all-expenses paid trip to Florida to see the Senators take on the Tampa Bay Lightning in March.
ICYMI: We celebrated the @AirCanada Mark Maker, Nisrene whose positivity and commitment to helping those around her made her the perfect choice for her and her family to see the Sens play in Florida.
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) December 10, 2018
By the way, you could also be on that trip. The #ACFanFlight contest will see one lucky fan win round-trip air fare for two, a couple nights accommodation and two tickets to see the Sens and Lightning on March 2nd.
AC Fan Flight is a promotion that is run in partnership with all seven Canadian NHL teams.? The program sees dozens of Air Canada employees – from flight attendants to pilots to ramp crew – surprise inspiring fans like Nizzy with flights and tickets to see their favourite Canadian teams play on the road.
Through hockey, Nizzy found a sense of belonging and became an inspiration for others along the way.
And thanks to Air Canada, she is being recognized for the amazing impact she’s had on the community around her.