MONTREAL -- Former Habs defenceman Francis Bouillon knows what it means to struggle. The 14-year NHL-er grew up in Hochelaga with a single parent, who depended on local organizations to help the family out.

Bouillon and fellow pros Gilbert Delorme and Mathieu Dandenault shared stories at Dans La Rue's youth shelter while they handed out gifts, as a way to give back to an organization like the ones that helped Bouillon's family.

"We had help even when we were kids to play hockey and now it's nice to give back to the community," said Bouillon.

The former skaters also offered words of encouragement to the youth that often find inspiration lacking in their daily struggles.

"I had the dream and that's what we try to transmit to those kids today, just have a dream, believe in yourself," said Bouillon.

Quebec outerwear company Nat's donated hoodies, hats and boots for the occasion.

"Homeless youth can go through many different challenges, and so it's very interesting to hear about people who made it in life, succeeded, how they did it, and how resilient they became," said Dans la Rue director Valerie Dubreuil. "They finally accomplished their dreams."