Wednesday September 16th, 2015

Maybe it's his reputation for chirping.

Or maybe it's the cocky attitude, or the fact that he's guilty of the occasional cheap shot. Or maybe, possibly, it's that he might embellish every now and then.

Whatever the reason, there are more than a few hockey fans who, if pressed to name their most hated player, would point to P.K. Subban.

Which is too bad because, all things considered, he's one of the game's greatest treasures. On the ice, he's a Norris winner and a two-time first-team All-Star. He's a performer as much as he is a player, blessed with unnatural physical ability and graced with a flair for the dramatic. He's that rare individual with the will and skill to carry a team on his back but the humility to gladly accept a limited role—as he did for Canada in Sochi—if that's what's best for the club. With the Canadiens set to name a new captain this season, it would hardly be a surprise if he was honored with the most glorious C in the game.

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His greatness isn't confined to the ice, however. He might be the game's most gloriously outsized personality, a natural in front of the camera who loves interacting with kids on the street and legends of the game alike.

And as we were reminded Wednesday morning, he is generous too.

The Montreal Children's Hospital announced that the defenseman will donate 10 million CAD to the organization and will spearhead a fundraising effort over the next seven years.

“I always wanted to do something special," Subban said. "But like anything else, you have to take baby steps.”

Some baby step. The hospital is calling his donation "the biggest philanthropic commitment by a sports figure in Canadian history."

"Last year Montreal made a long-term commitment toward me," he said of the eight-year, $72 million contract he signed. "Now it's my turn to make an engagement to Montreal. Montreal has become my second home. Montrealers have taken me into their hearts for the past five years that I've been here ... and I hope to remain here for a very, very long time."

Later speaking in French, Subban said he was inspired to make the commitment by another famous Canadien, Jean Beliveau.

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"I idolize Jean Beliveau," he said. "I want to walk in his footsteps." Then, acknowledging the presence of Beliveau's widow, Elise, he said he hoped he would make her husband proud.

Subban said the donation was a reflection of his goals in life.

"I'm not a hockey player, I'm just a guy who plays hockey, and some day I won't play hockey any more," he said. "Every time you walk into this hospital, you'll know what I stand for."

The donation is a good reminder that there's more to this guy than the hits, the goals and yeah, the occasional dive. Subban is something special. Love him or hate him, we all should aspire to be a bit more like him.

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