If you’ve been fortunate enough to play the sport of ice hockey at some point in your life then you understand the unique camaraderie that comes with it.
You get it.
Whether you appreciated or couldn’t stand the guy sitting next to you wearing the same jersey on the bench or in the locker room — you learned fast to stick up for one another, especially out on the ice in one of the world’s most physical games. But even so — that bond and uncanny tradition found a way to carry itself over the boards and off the ice too.
Personally, post playing days, what I enjoy seeing the most isn’t always necessarily that sweet goal or unbelievable save by a goaltender such as Braden Holtby; but the dedication professional hockey players exemplify towards the fans and to those in need of a smile.
That same appreciation and camaraderie a player shares with his teammates can be established with a young fan by a simple act of kindness.
Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby knows exactly what I’m talking about.
The 2016 Vezina Trophy Finalist (NHL’s Best Goaltender) gave one of his used sticks to a young fan who’s battling cancer during a recent Capitals’ practice. Brian, an 11-year-old diagnosed with the disease, is a big Pittsburgh Penguins fan but that didn’t stop Holtby from making Brian’s day.
And, in case you didn’t already know, Washington is currently in a heated Stanley Cup Playoffs battle with Pittsburgh, plus trailing in the series — to add to the admirable story.
The relationships hockey has to offer can go a long way and further than one might realize at times. Think about the different qualities the sport has to offer than football, baseball or basketball. This young fan didn’t just receive a signed ball — he got to watch a live practice and received an NHLer’s goalie stick.
“It’s what we play the game for is to create positive influences on people. The Penguins are doing a great thing having him as their guest and luckily we got to share a little part of that and hopefully make his day a little better.”
Maybe it’s just me, but I believe having that special moment with a professional athlete and one who laces up the skates for that matter is more worthwhile than just getting a signature — no?
Now, Brian has been welcomed into the hockey community and in such a unique way…plus who better then one of the league’s best players and ambassadors for the sport?
This act of kindness from No. 70 between the pipes also hits home for myself and my former teammates. I know M.W. was smiling down on Mr. Holtby after that positive gesture.
The little things can make all the difference, and no one does it better than those who wear a hockey jersey to work — the ones who get it.