It started out as a simple gesture that Washington forward Brett Connolly does every time he takes the ice. Nobody would have guessed how big of an impact the simple act of kindness — flipping a puck over the wall during warmups to a fan — would have.
Now a week later, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis is inviting a 6-year-old internet sensation and her family to be his personal guests for Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first round playoff match against the Blue Jackets on Saturday.
Playoff hockey has all the emotions. ☹️❤️pic.twitter.com/J8O83cLuxW
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) April 16, 2018
Keelan Moxley was standing up against the glass ahead of the Capitals’ Game 2 match against Columbus on Sunday in Washington, watching her favorite team warm up. Connolly spotted the first-grader, and went to throw her a puck — something he said he tries to do every game. The puck, though, was intercepted by a man who tossed it to another boy standing beside her.
So, Connolly tried again, but the same thing happened — the puck went to another boy standing on her other side.
“I saw her face and she was not happy, obviously,” Connolly said. “So I said, ‘I’ve got to get another one.'”
Connolly then made it abundantly clear who the puck was for, and tossed the third one over the glass. When Moxley finally got her puck, an immediate smile broke out across her face.
The video of the interaction went viral almost instantly and, according to the NHL, became the most streamed NHL video on Twitter of all time. Naturally, that has turned Moxley into a bit of a celebrity.
“I didn’t know until after the game my phone was blowing up and everybody had saw it,” Connolly said. “It’s really, really cool just to see something little that you can do for a young kid, a young girl. I saw her interview. She’s extremely well spoken for a young kid. I think she’s a fan favorite now, so she’s getting a little bit of recognition too. So she’s having fun with it. That’s what her mom was saying. She’s just having the best time ever. All her classmates think she’s famous.”
And although she hasn’t met him — that will undoubtedly happen at the game on Saturday — Moxley’s mom Lauren said that Connolly has “definitely earned a lifelong fan.”
“It’s definitely pretty cool to see how everybody’s reacted to her and that whole situation,” Connolly told the Washington Post on Thursday. “Hopefully she has a great time at Game 5 and hopefully we can get her another win here.”
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