DANVERS — Even though the NHL lockout has made the sight of hockey players scarce, students at Riverside Elementary School got more than their fill of Bruins star Milan Lucic during a visit yesterday.
Students screamed and cheered for the fan favorite as he patiently took questions, signed hats and shirts, and posed for pictures with students and staff.
Lucic, a 24-year-old Vancouver native, deftly handled both simple and penetrating questions from the kids, revealing he’d had a broken nose five times, he has two brothers, and hockey is his favorite sport. Lucic said he has scored 90 goals in the NHL, 26 last year. He also said he drives a Porsche.
Fifth-grader Sophia Carmilia asked who were his best friends on the team, and Lucic said he is friends with everyone, but his best friends are Nathan Horton and Johnny Boychuk.
At one point, he waded into the throng and sat between fifth-graders Steve Pieroni and Katherine Farrell to pose for a group picture. Katherine and Steve both said the experience was “awesome.”
After asking for his autograph, Katherine said she told Lucic “his muscles are huge.”
Lucic laughed when asked, since he was so good with the kids, whether he’d consider going into teaching after his NHL career.
“I just like to have fun with them,” he said. “I remember when I was their age, and getting to meet or even see a hockey player was a big thrill for me. So I try to make the experience as enjoyable as I can for them, because really, when I do something like this ... it’s not about me, it’s about them.”
Lucic was at Riverside to bring school supplies collected during a drive during his charitable Rock & Jock Softball game held in Lowell this summer. The event and yesterday’s visit were sponsored by NMTW Community Credit Union, which has a branch in Danvers.