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John O’Leary welcomes Gino Cavallini on the Live Inspired Podcast to discuss why he decided to repeatedly visit a 9-year-old boy with burns on 100% of his body, and how he continues to make his career and life about something bigger than himself.

It’s not uncommon for famous athletes to visit children in hospitals. Sometimes these visits are well publicized but many times it’s done quietly. Undoubtedly, it has a profound impact on the young patients and their families by providing joy, hope and positivity.

As a young St. Louis Blues player, Gino Cavallini would repeatedly show up for the five months I was in the hospital, always smiling and bursting with encouragement. Sometimes he’d come with signed hockey tickets or seven-foot-tall stuffed bunny, and other times with pizza, soda, beer and his fellow Blues teammates. Regardless, every time this typical, Canadian tough-guy would brighten the dark, lonely days of my hospital stay.

Today, it’s an honor to welcome on my friend and hero Gino Cavallini. Join me as we celebrate his story of humble beginnings to playing nine NHL seasons, why he decided to repeatedly visit a 9-year-old boy with burns on 100% of his body, and how he continues to make his career and life about something bigger than himself.

My friends, this conversation will leave you asking yourself, “what more can I do?”

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  • As an Italian immigrant, Gino’s father instilled the following lessons: Work hard. Do the work. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
  • After learning how to skate from his mother, Gino and his brother Paul fell in love with hockey.
  • Someone wants your seat in the room. When you’ve rightfully earned your spot on a team, you appreciate it. If you’ve worked so hard to get there, don’t rest now.
  • Gino learned about John’s accident through Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck.
  • More known for his fights than scoring goals, 9-year-old John asked Gino to get in a fight at the next game. Gino not only got in a fight but also scored a goal.
  • Do what you can. After John left the hospital, Gino brought John to a hockey game when John was mesmerized to meet fellow players and how engaged he was with his fans.
  • Today at Chicago Mission, Gino works with young players to develop character and how they behave is just as important as how they perform.
  • Join me in donating on behalf of Gino Cavallini for Chicago Mission’s Pink in the Rink fundraiser here.

Did you enjoy today’s episode?

You’ll love our Sports and Athletes playlist. Including NASCAR legend Kyle Petty, six-time Olympic medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee, and many more, this playlist will inspire you to step off the sideline + get back into the game of life. Listen to the Sports and Athletes playlist now.


About our sponsor: Keeley Companies wholeheartedly believes that if you get the people right -the results will follow. They set themselves apart with a forward-thinking culture that empowers their people and fosters loyal partnerships. Keeley Companies are a proud sponsor, partner, and super fan of the Live Inspired Podcast. Learn more about Keeley Companies.



  1. Q. What is the best book you’ve ever read?
    A. On Fire by John O'Leary.
  2. Q. What is a characteristic or trait that you possessed as a child that you wish you still exhibited today?
    A. Keep working hard and earn.
  3. Q. Your house is on fire, all living things and people are out. You have the opportunity to run in and grab one item. What would it be?
    A. A picture that my oldest son made when he was a young child.
  4. Q. You are sitting on a bench overlooking a gorgeous beach. You have the opportunity to have a long conversation with anyone living or dead. Who would it be?
    A. Gordy Howe.
  5. Q. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
    A. Keep working. Don't cheat. Give an honest effort.
  6. Q. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?
    A. The sky is the limit.
  7. Q. It’s been said that all great people can have their lives summed up in one sentence. How do you want yours to read?
    A. Amazing.