Sports Briefs

Posted: Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Pronger back in hospital -- to play Santa

ST. LOUIS -- Chris Pronger spends plenty of time making hospital visits. This time of year, it's special.

For the last six years, the St. Louis Blues star has come to SSM Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital just before Christmas. He comes bearing toys, not memorabilia.

''These are the kids that should be spending the holidays at home,'' said Pronger, a member of the hospital's board of governors. ''Many of them don't even know who I am.''

Courtney Moses, 10, asked Pronger to sign a Blues hat already displaying the signatures of Al MacInnis and other players. Moses has been at the hospital for almost a year following a liver transplant. He said he has had so many operations he can't count them.

''It's real intimidating going into a room and not knowing what could be past the door,'' said Megan McManus, a hospital specialist who assists Pronger. ''Chris sits down and opens the presents with them.''

For the second year, Pronger's wife joined her husband at the hospital.

''Oh, he really looks forward to it,'' Lauren Pronger said. ''It's great to see the kids who are genuinely happy to see him, instead of just, 'Can I have your autograph? Can I have your autograph?' This is really a special thing for him.''

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