FC Edmonton soccer player volunteers at the Stollery

Defender Paul Hamilton will be on the field Saturday when FC Edmonton faces off against Minnesota in a bid for a playoff spot. But he also spends time off the pitch visiting sick kids.
Paul Hamilton from FC Edmonton volunteers at the Stollery Children's Hospital 1:52

FC Edmonton players have one of their biggest games of the season Saturday in their push to make the North American soccer playoffs.

The Eddies will face off against Minnesota at Clarke Stadium in Edmonton. Kick off is at 7 p.m.

Defender Paul Hamilton will be on the field for FC Edmonton. While he has won fans for his hard work on the pitch, he has also won hearts for his work in the community.

Hamilton volunteers at the Stollery Children's Hospital.

"Usually when they're in the hospital, sometimes they don't get a lot of play time," Hamilton said.

"And if you can just come out and brighten their day up even for a couple of minutes, give them a couple of presents that they can look forward to playing with, it's just all about making them feel better."

Mark Grimard's son Joel has already had four surgeries to his heart, even though he hasn't yet had his third birthday.  He says Hamilton's presence really makes a difference.

"It's nice. It changes everybody's ideas," Grimard said. "The kids, especially. It gives them a chance to be happy."

Tamara Fisher, whose daughter Evanne is awaiting surgery for a damaged heart, says the visits from Hamilton gives the children something to look forward to.

"Today's football day," she said. "So then you can get through the day knowing that there's that little glimmer to come and put that smile on their face."

Hamilton volunteers partly in memory of his brother Mark, who died in a car accident.

"My brother, growing up, he always worked with underprivileged kids. Kind of the same thing. Just to give back," Hamilton said.

Hamilton will be in action Saturday night when FC Edmonton plays Minnesota at Clarke Stadium. Kick off is at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on CBC Television and streamed online at 

With files from the CBC's Gareth Hampshire