Kathryn Tappen and Rose Mirakian-Wheeler with their cart full of goodies. (Photo from Kathryn Tappen)

Getting into the holiday spirit with the Boston Bruins’ holiday toy drive

Published On December 12, 2012 | By Kathryn Tappen

For all you moms out there, this post is for you!

After many years of reporting on the Boston Bruins players’ Annual Holiday Toy Shopping Event, I was fortunate enough to actually participate in it myself this year. Due to the circumstances of the NHL Lockout, players are not available to take part in team-sponsored events.

So, along with members of the Boston Bruins staff, including President Cam Neely, Assistant General Manager Don Sweeney, Head Coach Claude Julien, Bruins Hall of Famer John “Chief” Bucyk, and other media personalities in Boston, I went to Target in Woburn to begin my shopping for the kids.

I received a clipboard with the details of the children I was buying gifts for and what their “wish list” was. Two boys and two girls in each of the following four categories: infant, toddler, small child, and teens. That totals 16 kids, and I had a budget of $699.

Off I went, along with Director of Boston Bruins hockey, Rose Mirakian-Wheeler, to collect our gifts in a shopping cart.

I was overwhelmed with gift ideas – up and down the aisles we went with discussions like “Do toddlers like glow worms or a “laugh and learn snail? Do boys prefer matchbox cars to a board game?” Decisions, decisions, 16 times over!

“A pair of hop-along boots and a pistol that shoots
Is the wish of Barney and Ben;
Dolls that will talk and will go for a walk
Is the hope of Janice and Jen”

We laughed along with the rest of the crew who were diligently filling up their carts as well. Our cart kept getting reactions such as “You guys are WAY over budget!” and “Holy Smokes! Who are you guys buying for!?”

Needless to say, Rose and I are both experienced shoppers. We learned early on that Fisher Price had a “Buy one, get one 50 percent off” and the Matchbox cars had the same promo.


Ipod shuffles for the teen girls, portable DVD players for the teen boys, Holiday Barbie for the young girls, along with glitter hats, gloves, and purses (my fave!). Rattles, stuffed animals, baby dolls that require feeding, board games, DVD’s, kittens that purr, and so on and so on.

What a fun day, and all for charity.

I was honored to be able to participate in such a festive and wonderful event. I look forward now to the delivery, where I can see the kids’ faces light up (hopefully) at our choices.

To participate in an event that exemplifies the true spirit of the holidays is unlike any other.

My thanks to the Bruins for inviting me to participate; to the Target staff for being so accommodating, and to Rose for carrying the calculator to make sure we stayed on budget.

We were only $15 over. Not bad.

“….And Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.”

Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season. And to all those moms, good luck!

The Boston Bruins Foundation, Delaware North Companies and Garden Neighborhood Charities fund $22,500 worth of toys, with each organization donating $7,500. The toys will be delivered to hospitals around Boston and given as gifts to children who are unable to celebrate
the holidays at home.

Last year, the Bruins donated an estimated total of more than $23,000 worth of toys.

Bruins Hall of Famer Ray Bourque started the holiday toy shopping and delivery tradition when he was captain, and the event has continued through the years.

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About The Author

Kathryn Tappen is the host of NHL Tonight on the NHL Network. Kathryn previously worked for NESN as a studio host for Bruins games and as the lead anchor for SportsDesk. Kathryn is also an athlete, as she was an Academic All-American as a member of the track and cross country teams at Rutgers. She is a former record holder in the women's 3,000 meter steeplechase.