On Sunday, Brett Connolly attempted to throw a puck to an adorable girl watching warmups on the glass. Connolly was thwarted, twice, in getting the puck to the girl — and got a little heated in the process — by an adult who passed the thrown pucks to two boys standing on either side of the girl.
Since then, more details have emerged about what exactly went down ahead of Game Two, as well as some more gestures of kindness from the Capitals organization towards the girl and her family.
Hi guys! This is my daughter from last nights game! Just want to clarify, the “Dad” catching the pucks was not her father, & she is an only child. Need to say that since her dad was there but about 7 rows back as to not take up space for other kids & he’s an amazing father!
— Lauren Moxley (@Moxser) April 16, 2018
First identified by her mother, Lauren Moxley, first-grader Keelan was the girl involved in the incident. The adults around her, who caught the pucks and redistributed them, were not related to Keelan at all. Lauren shared a video with CBC News, where Keelan told everyone how she felt as the situation unfolded.
You may have seen the video of Washington Capitals’ Brett Connolly trying to give a little girl a puck, only to be intercepted twice by a man standing behind her. We asked Keelan Moxley for her side of the story. #TheMoment pic.twitter.com/ElTILGgsUk
— CBC News: The National (@CBCTheNational) April 17, 2018
“Hi, my name is Keelan, and I got this puck from Brett Connolly,” Keelan said, introducing herself and brandishing her prized puck for all to see.
Keelan’s mother, Lauren, then asked her how she felt when the two boys from the video got the pucks ahead of her.
“I felt devastated. And sad. But I felt good for the two boys,” Keelan said. “I was kind of sad because I didn’t get it. But Brett Connolly kept banging on the glass a lot, at me.”
As for how she felt once she, finally, got her puck, she said, “I felt happy. I felt really happy.”
Another relation of Keelan’s, who reached out to Deadspin for comment, also mentioned that Keelan plays hockey for her local mites league.
Lauren Moxley later spoke to Darren Rovell at ESPN. “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 said to Rovell. “She’s an only child. We didn’t know the other people around us. I couldn’t believe it when I saw on Facebook and Twitter what it had become.”
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 18, 2018
Katrina Connolly also reached out to Lauren, after finding her on Facebook once the video went viral. “She said they thought Keelan is very sweet and that they are happy she finally got a puck,” Lauren said. “That Brett was very determined to get it to her. They also said they want to send her a little gift once Brett returns from Columbus, to thank her for being a good sport and supporting the team.”
Brett Connolly wasn’t the only member of the Capitals organization that wanted to do something a little extra special for Keelan. With the Capitals first round series heading to Game Five, owner Ted Leonsis offered his glass seats to Keelan and her family to watch the game from. Leonsis also plans to meet them before the game.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) April 18, 2018
The father of one of the boys who received a puck also released a statement to Deadspin, explaining some of the situation involving their son further.
My guess is that the guy who caught all 3 pucks knows how this sorta thing works and was just being nice handing the pucks out to the kids who happened to be in front of him…and he probably knew from previous experience that the Caps player, in this case Brett Connolly, wasn’t going to stop until the girl got her puck. I’m happy that each kid was able to get a puck…and for my son, Boy 2, he just happened to be in the right place at the right time. You can kind of see him looking up behind him after the Girl got her puck…he was trying to get our attention to show us the puck he got. I told him afterwards that I’ve been going to professional baseball, hockey, etc. games for 30+ years and I’ve never gotten a ball, puck, etc…so he was beyond thrilled and this is something he’ll remember forever…hell, even his 7-yr old sister next to him was happy for him!
While that does not change the way that the as yet unidentified man took advantage of both Keelan, and Brett Connolly’s kindness, it is heartening to see that Keelan is happy about her new keepsake.
And, who knows, maybe one day we’ll be watching her skate during intermission as a mite on ice.
Headline photo: @CBCTheNational
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