By Katie Brace

BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy paced a group of pint-sized players through drills on Thursday.

For McAvoy, who is off skates battling a knee injury, it was a nice break.

“Fortunate when you have time off like this to be able to do more stuff, obviously there is a downside to being hurt, but stuff like this is special,” said McAvoy.

hockey e1521765225629 Bruins Defenseman Charlie McAvoy Donates Hockey Equipment, Visits Smart Light Sports

Charlie McAvoy donating hockey equipment to the Smart Light Sports program. (WBZ-TV)

He handed out new hockey sticks to eight members of Smart Light Sports in Woburn. The kids have challenges like Down syndrome, ADHD, and epilepsy. The unique thing about this program is that it uses lights to help kids with special needs learn how to play hockey.

“Hockey is a hard sport to play,” said Joe Dellanno of Smart Light Sports.

Dellanno developed the idea – teaching hockey by taking away audio cues and relying on visual cues projected on the floor by a computer program.

“They have a guide underneath their feet. They play video games. They follow that. It seemed like a natural thing,” said Dellanno.

Eight-year old Liam O’Brien plays youth hockey and has attended this program for around four years. He deals with ADHD and Dyslexia.

“It’s just another forum for him to be able to learn. He learns best with multi-sensory technique,” said Caitlin O’Brien, Liam’s mother. “Fostering his strength in hockey has definitely helped bring out his confidence in himself.”

A confidence that got another boost when Liam met one of his hockey idols.

autograph e1521765280821 Bruins Defenseman Charlie McAvoy Donates Hockey Equipment, Visits Smart Light Sports

Liam getting an autograph from one of his hockey idols. (WBZ-TV)

“He’s [Charlie McAvoy] a really good person and very nice person,” Liam said.

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