If you happened to watch the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas, I sure hope you had the tissue box near by.
Shortly after New York Islanders coach Barry Trotz won his second Jack Adams Award, an 11-year-old boy named Anderson Whitehead took the stage for a special presentation.
You may remember Anderson from a video that went viral earlier this year. Following a Montreal Canadiens practice in late February, Anderson got the chance to meet his idol, Carey Price, after his mom had passed away following a battle with cancer. Her dying wish was for her young son one day get to meet his favourite player.
In the video, captured by Anderson’s aunt, the young boy is hanging out after when Price takes a moment to meet one of his biggest fans. But this was far from your typical meet-and-greet.
This is everything — this young fan, Anderson, met his idol @CP0031, after his mother passed away due to cancer. She had promised him that she would do everything in her power to help the two meet and it happened. This right here is hockey. #OurGreatGame— NHL (@NHL) March 1, 2019
(🎥 FB/ Tammy Whitehead) pic.twitter.com/ww6jLM2yoF
Not only did Price take the time to meet his young fan, he also signed two hockey sticks, a mini stick, a puck, and the Price jersey that Anderson had on his back. But the best part of the exchange was the massive hug that Price immediately laid on Anderson when the two crossed paths.
“Words cannot describe how much this meant to Anderson and we are forever grateful to this wonderful man," wrote Anderson’s aunt Tammy, in the caption for the video.
Fast forward nearly four months later, as Anderson takes the stage at the NHL Awards along with Sports Illustrated model Camille Kostek.
Kostek begins to tease a surprise for Anderson by explaining that while his favourite player couldn’t be there for the big night, Price had prepared a video message for him.
Attention then shifts to the screen, where Price greets Anderson and apologizes for not being able to make the Awards. But the All-Star had a trick up his sleeve.
After a few words on that special moment after practice, Price walks off screen before making an appearance on stage. Anderson quickly sheds a few tears of joy and the entire audience is brought to its feet.
But Price saved the best for last. After gifting Anderson another jersey for the kid’s collection, Price asks him if he wants to attend next season’s All-Star game.
The answer — a resounding YES — quickly led to a standing ovation in T-Mobile Arena.
If this moment didn’t hit you right in the feels, there’s likely a cold black hole where your heart should be.
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