(Puck Daddy presents its annual look back at the year in hockey. Check back every day through the New Year for our many lists and hot takes.)
So often we focus on the negative in life that we have to take a break and remind ourselves that good things actually happen, even in hockey.
Take a look back to some of the most heartwarming, face melting, try and hold back the tears moments of 2015.
10. T.J. Oshie and his No. 1 fan
Over the summer, T.J. Oshie was traded to the Washington Capitals. It was a blockbuster deal that rocked the hockey world. Aside from Oshie himself, the trade impacted no one else more than that of five-year-old Libby Lu. Her mother captured her despair on a video (that will no doubt be played at her wedding):
The video went viral, so much so Sportscenter took a break from ignoring hockey to cover it. Libby and her dad appeared on a broadcast with a special phone call from her favorite player. Libby, a burgeoning investigative journalist, asked Oshie the hard questions:
Days later, Oshie came through with his promise for some swag. Libby received a box full of goodies from Oshie and the Capitals. That smile says it all.
9. Hockey Parents!
We love hockey parents here on Puck Daddy. From the goofy dads of the New Jersey Devils:
New Jersey Devils’ Dads celebrating is the best thing ever pic.twitter.com/SD2tEPdEbd
— Greg Balloch (@GregBalloch) December 5, 2015
To the mom who is fighting breast cancer and makes it to Pink the Rink Night in the USHL, only to see her son score the game winning goal.
— Alex Walker (@AlexWalkerABC9) October 26, 2015
To Troy Brouwer scoring the game winning goal in the Winter Classic in front of his father who hadn’t seen him play often after having a stroke in 2010.
One of the most memorable parent-child moments of the year came with a parent who played hockey and the daughter who missed him. Jordyn Leopold wrote a letter asking for the Minnesota Wild to bring her daddy, Jordan Leopold, home at the trade deadline, and they did.
8. Teams visit children’s hospitals.
All teams make visits to children’s hospitals throughout the season. Two of our favorites from this past year came from the Calgary Flames and the Boston Bruins.
7. Carey Price paying it forward and getting verklempt.
For a kid from the small town of Anahim Lake, B.C., Carey Price recognizes how fortunate he is and he gives back in many ways. In October, the Price (along with CCM) donated over $10,000 in hockey equipment to the Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association where the netminder played in his youth. Much of the gear will be distributed to First Nations children, a lineage shared by Price.
Price is also the official ambassador of Breakfast Club, an organization that provides healthy meals to start the day to over 150,000 children across Canada in an environment that is welcoming and non-judgmental. In March, Trent Leon, a First Nation child and participant in the Breakfast Club, received the opportunity of a lifetime to spend time with Price. With him, Leon brought thank you notes and gifts from the other children. The goaltender is genuinely touched by the gestures:
Another notable moment for Price happened during a game. Usually, goaltenders are wearing blinders and not paying attention to the crowd. A young fan took a selfie as Price was by the bench. When the goalie realized what was happening, he was more than happy to participate:
After the incident went viral, the fan, Justin, penned an eloquent and well written thank you note to Price.
6. Chris Sutter coaches at the All-Star Game.
The saving grace of the unwatchable All-Star Game this year was the coaching done by Chris Sutter, son of Los Angeles Kings head coach, Darryl Sutter. Sutter, 22, has Down Syndrome, and he’s a fixture at Kings games. The pure elation of Chris is felt and reciprocated by the players.
5. Jonathan Toews buys Girl Scout cookies from 5-year-old Chicago Blackhawks fan.
Alexis had one goal and it was to sell Girl Scout cookies to her favorite Blackhawks player – Jonathan Toews. The exchanges between Alexis, Andrew Shaw and Toews are face meltingly adorable. Toews probably wishes Coach Q is as understanding as Alexis was when he ironed on a Blackhawks patch to her vest more than a little crooked.
4. Military Family Reunions
Military families sacrifice so much as they send their loved ones out on deployments. Sharing in their joy of reuniting is an honor. Rinks across the NHL aid in surprising loved ones with their service member returning. Here are a couple from this past year.
(Shut up, you’re crying.)
3. Wish Granting.
NHL teams are more than willing to step up to the plate and help deliver upon wishes of their fans most in need. This happens multiple times throughout the season and here’s a few from the year that was:
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) December 3, 2015
Anaheim Ducks grant teen’s wish with on-ice home opener introduction.
Finally, this one is especially heartfelt. Cammy is six-years-old and has Rett Syndrome. The disease has left her unable to walk or verbally communicate. In short, she wanted to score a goal with the help from her favorite NHL player, Duncan Keith.
2. P.K. Subban
Everyone knows Subban for his on ice exploits and larger than life personality. As his NHL career continues to develop, he’s giving back to the community that helped make him a star, like surprising a bunch of kids to play street hockey:
A few months later, he made a $10-million donation to the Montreal Children’s Hospital. To show their appreciation, the hospital renamed an atrium in his honor.
In the same atrium just a few days ago, Subban – wearing his Christmas jammies – surprised the children with a Winter Wonderland.
— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) December 24, 2015
(Did it just get a little dusty in here?)
1. SpiderMable saves the day!
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) September 28, 2015
Kidnapped and tied up at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, [then] Edmonton Oilers captain Andrew Ference needed a hero to save him.
Enter SpiderMable, who rescued the defenseman Monday as part of an organized search, set up by The Children’s Wish Foundation. A live blog was even set up to track the hero’s progress.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) September 28, 2015
(Now if she could find Ference’s career…HEY-O!)
Tomorrow: Top 10 Jersey Fouls of 2015
Previously on the Year in Hockey 2015:
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