NEWTON — Tuukka Rask and the Bruins don’t begin training camp until Sept. 18.
On Saturday, the Bruins goaltender had the chance to shake off some offseason rust when he played street hockey with 10- and 11-year-old girls from the Boston Junior Eagles to benefit Good Sports.
It was a fun-filled day on Sewall Street, where the players from the Junior Eagles had the opportunity to scrimmage with Rask, followed by a question-and-answer session.
“It’s always fun to deal with kids in any regard, and today was a perfect day for a little street hockey — it can’t get better than that,” Rask said.
“You find the time from your schedule to make something like this happen, and today was the perfect weekend for it. Hopefully there are more to come in the future. Kids don’t get to see us like this too often.”
Brien O’Connor, who coaches the U10 Junior Eagles, won an auction for the event earlier in the spring at Good Sports’ annual fundraiser at Fenway Park.
The funds directly support Good Sports — a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide athletic equipment, footwear, and apparel to disadvantaged young people nationwide.
“I’ve been a big sports fan and participated my whole life,” O’Connor said. “[Good Sports’] goal is getting equipment and uniforms to underprivileged kids, and there’s nothing I’d rather participate in than that.
“I’m just glad the way it worked out. It’s phenomenal. And for the kids to see and play with Tuukka Rask, it’s amazing. He’s very generous to give this day. The enthusiasm he just brought to the street hockey game, really generous to bring that to Newton and these kids.”
Good Sports, which was started 10 years ago in Boston, partners with sporting goods manufacturers and distributes the equipment nationwide.
In the fall, Good Sports will have impacted more than one million kids — donating more than $11 million of equipment to thousands of organizations.
“Fundamentally, what we’re trying to do is make sure that all kids have the opportunity to get involved in sports and fitness regardless of economic limitations and other limitations they might be facing,” said Good Sports COO Christy Keswick.
“The physical and emotional benefits that come from sports are critical to development.”
Rask, who has spent the offseason between Finland and Boston, got a full workout on the sunny afternoon. He played forward and defense in the scrimmage and scored a pair of goals as he drew plenty of excitement from the Junior Eagles players.
Was it as rigorous as a training session with Bruins strength and conditioning coach John Whitesides?
“Not as tough, but definitely more fun,” Rask joked.
After the game, Rask signed autographs and took pictures before answering questions from the players.
The most common question was why Rask wanted to be a goalie.
“Because I’m too lazy to skate,” he said.
During the auction gala at Fenway Park, Rask’s agent texted the goaltender to tell him how lucrative and competitive the bidding was.
Rask was thrilled and decided to volunteer for another event, awarded to the second-highest bidder.
On Sunday, Rask will be back at it again in Wellesley.
“It’s only a couple of hours of my time,” he said. “It’s all for a good cause and I love doing it.”
Anthony Gulizia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.