If you thought Vince Dunn’s reaction to seeing his Stanley Cup ring for the first time at a private ceremony on Monday night was good, then let me quote Randy Bachman when I say, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”
One day after receiving their stunning bands for their parts in helping the St. Louis Blues hoist Lord Stanley’s mug in June, defenceman Colton Parayko and forward Alex Steen paid a visit to the home of Laila Anderson in Des Peres, Missouri on Tuesday to deliver a very special gift.
And, to the surprise of nobody that has followed the growth of her relationship with the squad last season, the youngster was over the moon upon realizing what she had received from the team.
“So, you know how much you mean to us, right?” said Steen with his arms behind his back. “And what an inspiration you’ve been to so many people. So, me and Colton are here, representing our organization and everybody there, and we have something that we would like you to open right now.”
“Oh my God,” Anderson said in between tears after realizing the present was a custom Stanley Cup ring. “I feel like I shouldn’t be touching this right now.”
Anderson, a passionate Blues fan, has been battling a rare and life-threatening inflammatory syndrome called hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis for the past few years. Her story and support became a rallying point for the squad during the later stages of its rise from last in the NHL standings at the beginning of January to the first championship in franchise history less than half a year later. In fact, each ring received by the players and staff has the name “LAILA” engraved along the interior of the palm.
She attended seven postseason games during the team’s run to the Cup, according to Pat Pickens of NHL.com.
Yes, she wasn’t on the ice to score any of the goals, make any of the saves or win any of the battles. However, based on what the players have said about this young fighter and their interactions with her on the ice in Boston after their win in Game 7, she had more of an impact on the result than we may ever know.
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