A kindergarten class in Airdrie got some superstar assistance Monday when former Calgary Flames captain Lanny McDonald joined them in taking the pledge to become a Kindness Ninja.
The Kindness Ninja Project began 3 1/2 years ago at Windsong Heights School in Airdrie.
Kindergarten students there take a pledge to make an impact on their school, their community and the world through acts of kindness.
"They take it very seriously. It definitely gives them a sense of identity and a sense of purpose," said kindergarten teacher Allison Apels.
"When they feel that feeling in their heart of what it feels like to give kindness, they want to just keep keep doing it."
This year the four and five-year-olds created a video and sent it to McDonald, asking him to join their ranks.
"The video was absolutely phenomenal, and to have all of these little kids playing a part in it, how could I not say I'm coming to the school?" said McDonald.
"It melts your heart and I'm just so happy that they asked if I would come and spend a little time here today."
When the class came back from recess on Monday, McDonald was waiting to greet them.
As the children crowded around the Stanley Cup champion, McDonald chatted with them about the Kindness Ninja Project, which started at the school in Airdrie and spread to schools across North and South America, as well as Thailand, Cameroon, Tunisia and Scotland.
For the second year in a row the Airdrie Kindness Ninja class has teamed up with the New York based charity Blankets of Hope, which donates blankets to groups to distribute to the homeless.
McDonald is helping the class get 96 blankets from New York to Airdrie. The blankets will be delivered to members of Calgary’s homeless community on Feb. 14.
Before the blankets are delivered, the students will attach a handwritten note to each one. This year the class is also making sandwiches to deliver along with every blanket.
"It means a lot to me because it makes me feel good inside, because I’m doing some good things for others," said kindergarten student Bodhii Owens
McDonald, 66, retired from hockey in 1989, before some of the kindergarteners’ parents were even born.
The Hall of Fame right-winger was still swarmed by the children, with many asking him to autograph Flames #9 jerseys they wore for the event.
Despite the star treatment, McDonald maintains it's the kids themselves — the class of Kindness Ninjas — who are the real stars.
"Hopefully I can live up to what these little kids are showing the rest of the different classrooms,” said McDonald. "And (showing) the school and the rest of the world.”