Tuesday morning, seven-year-old Seth Parrish waited patiently in the lobby of the players’ entrance at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
A few minutes later, he was surprised by TJ Oshie. The Caps winger and Sochi hero presented the tiny tot with a number 12 Caps home jersey. Seth’s last name emblazoned on the back.
That morning, Seth’s mother told her son that they were going to watch Caps practice. His day would be a bit more hands on than that.
After Oshie gave Seth his jersey, he let the tiny Caps fan know that he was going to take the ice with the team after practice. Seth, who has been skating since he was three-years-old, told WJLA’s John Gonzalez in an interview that it was a dream come true. Seth plays hockey at Piney Orchard Ice Arena – the Caps former practice facility in Odenton, Maryland.
“We get to come and do what we love everyday,” Oshie told Gonzalez. “If by doing that and being able to come meet a little kid and give him a jersey and let him know he’s going to come skate with us, that can brighten his day, brighten his Christmas, that never gets old for us.”
Seth and his mother are member of TAPS, a national tragedy assistance program which helps all those who have lost a loved one on active duty with the Armed Forces.
32 days before he was born, Seth’s father, Command Sgt. Maj. Harry L. Parrish Jr. of Fort Meade, Maryland, lost his life in Virginia at age 53. Parrish, a longtime skydiving instructor and veteran Army soldier, was attempting to train a student when his reserve parachute opened at 14,000 feet.
“My husband would be extremely proud,” Seth’s mother said. “Seth is very much like his father. They’re both go-getters and really great achievers.”
The Capitals gave loud stick-taps to Seth when he finally took the ice, accompanied by Head Coach Barry Trotz.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) December 20, 2016
Seth even got to shoot on goaltender Braden Holtby. As Seth came in on a breakaway, he sent the puck under Holtby’s pads. The players roared. Holtby slammed his stick against the post in faux-rage.
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After several more shots on goal, Capitals forward Tom Wilson gave Seth his stick. Seth then went into the locker room and conducted interviews like he was a real player.
Without dad, Seth and his mom haven’t had it easy. But for one day, the Caps made things a little bit better – a fond memory the two of them will never forget.
All photos from the Capitals
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