During the pregame skate before Game 2 of the Capitals and Blue Jackets first round playoff series in D.C. on Sunday, Capitals forward Brett Connolly tossed a puck over the glass. It’s something Connolly does before almost every home game while waiting for his turn to shoot, but this time, video of Connolly’s persistence in making sure a young girl went home with a souvenir went viral.
“I saw her, I singled her out and then I tried to give her a puck,” Connolly told reporters before Game 4 in Columbus on Thursday.
A man standing behind the little girl in this story, who has since been identified as 6-year-old Keelan Moxley, may not have realized she was the intended target of Connolly’s toss, as he caught the puck and handed it to a boy standing to Keelan’s left. When Connolly flipped a second puck over the glass, the same man caught it and handed it to a boy standing to Keelan’s right.
“I saw the guy kind of grab it and then I saw her face,” Connolly said. “She was not happy, obviously.”
That’s an understatement.
“I felt devastated, sad,” Moxley told CBC News this week. “But I felt good for the two boys, but I was kind of sad because I didn’t get it. But Brett Connolly kept banging on the glass at me.”
“I was like, ‘Oh, I gotta get her another one,'” Connolly said Thursday. “And then the same thing [happened], so I kind of looked at the dad and just kind of made a point, I was like, just make sure she gets it. It’s funny. Whatever happened to ‘ladies first,’ you know?”
The video of Connolly requiring three tosses to get a puck into Moxley’s hands is already the NHL’s all-time most-streamed video on Twitter. Connolly said his phone was “blowing up” with friends reaching out to him about the video after Sunday’s game.
“It’s really, really cool, just to see something little that you can do for a young kid and a young girl,” Connolly said. “I saw her interview. She’s extremely well spoken for a young fan. I think she’s a fan favorite now, so she’s getting a little bit of recognition too. She’s having fun with it. That’s what her mom was saying, that she’s just having the best time ever. All her classmates think she’s famous.”
Keelan’s mom, Lauren Moxley, told ESPN’s Darren Rovell that Keelan took the puck to school for show-and-tell on Tuesday. Lauren didn’t know either of the two boys flanking her daughter or the man who nabbed the first two pucks.
“I was standing near her and I saw it all happen, but I never thought the guy who was catching the pucks had any ill intentions,” Lauren told Rovell.
“I don’t want to get into the dad too much, but I just wanted to make sure she got [a puck] because she was so upset,” Connolly said. “Just had to keep trying until she got one, I guess.”
After the video went viral, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis offered Keelan and her family seats along the glass for Saturday’s Game 5 at Capital One Arena. (Game 2 was Keelan’s second NHL game ever, and her family’s seats weren’t along the glass.)
“It’s definitely pretty cool to see how everybody’s reacted to her and that whole situation, so hopefully she has a great time at Game 5 and hopefully we can get her another win here,” Connolly said.
Isabelle Khurshudyan contributed to this report.
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