Maddie Kegley is a truly remarkable eleven-year-old. Not only is she a straight-A student and a U-12 hockey player who wants to be the NHL’s first female GM when she grows up, but she also spends whatever free time she has raising money for NHL players’ anti-bullying initiatives.
In mid-November, Maddie and her mom Amanda were at the Xcel Center in St. Paul to see the Washington Capitals face off against the MN Wild. Maddie brought a sign to warm-ups asking her hero TJ Oshie for a stick. The Capitals left town with a 5-2 win, but Maddie left the arena empty-handed.
“I was sad after the game that he didn’t see the sign,” Maddie said, “but I knew there were a lot of other kids there too that wanted pucks and stuff, so it was ok.”
After the game, Oshie saw a picture of Maddie on Twitter. He reached out to the family, apologized for not seeing Maddie’s request at the game, and asked if he could have their address. He had a special present for this special kid: a signed TJ Oshie hockey stick.
“[W]hen my mom told me he sent her a message, I didn’t believe her at first!” Maddie said. “It made me feel really happy.”
Last month, Maddie held up a sign for @TJOshie77 at a Wild game. That night, he messaged me on Twitter apologizing for not seeing it & asked for our address so he could send her a signed stick. It's pretty cool when your heroes prove why they're your heros. #biggestlittlefan pic.twitter.com/Fy8o2zfSj7
— Amanda (@amandakegs) December 13, 2018
Maddie is from Minnesota, the State of Hockey, and she has a true passion for the sport. She’s also turned that passion into action by raising money for anti-bullying initiatives supported by NHL players.
“She’s focusing her attention on hockey players because hockey has given so much to her,” her mom said. “It’s given her confidence, a great group of friends, and so many incredible experiences and memories. She’s such a huge fan of the game and every time she hears of a player or team that’s involved in anti-bullying efforts, she’s thrilled.”
Her new teammates are big supporters of Maddie’s work too.
Maddie met her $100 goal for today! Special thanks to the Wildcats (some pictured here!) for all their support and for making Maddie feel so welcome on a new team! #antibullying pic.twitter.com/bKKgqEXOQF
— #BooksAgainstBullying (@BooksAgainst) November 10, 2018
Maddie’s inspiration for her charity work is the Shine a Ligh7 Foundation, a nonprofit started by retired NHL defenseman and Minnesota-native Paul Martin. Shine a Ligh7 aims to improve the lives of children in need by supporting anti-bullying efforts, suicide prevention, and mental health awareness.
Her Books Against Bullying project raises funds for Shine a Ligh7 and local families in need. With her mother’s help, she collects books, sells them, and donates the proceeds.
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We had such a fun time today at Books Against Bullying. Maddie and her buddy Cooper showed Paul the ropes, and even put him to work behind the desk! ✨ . . . . #mentalhealthawareness #antibullying #suicideprevention @booksagainstbullying07 @maddiekegs07 #booksagainstbullying
A post shared by Shine A Ligh7 (@shinealigh7) on
She’s also helped other NHL players’ initiatives, like Erik Karlsson‘s Can’t Dim My Light project. “Maddie sees with her heart; if she thinks there’s something she can do to help someone, she’s going to do it,” her mom said.
Awesome initiative! Thank you https://t.co/PoERHRQ71n
— Erik Karlsson (@ErikKarlsson65) October 1, 2018
She started with a few boxes of books in her driveway in 2017 and has already raised over $3,000. She was too young to attend the event Martin hosted that year, but after all her hard work, Martin reached out and invited her as a special guest.
Right now, Maddie and Books Against Bullying are working towards their biggest goal so far: they’re trying to raise $1,000 by December 21. The funds will go to two Twin Cities families who lost children to suicide in the last month.
You can follow Books Against Bullying on Facebook to learn about upcoming events. If you’re not in the area, you can donate online through PayPal. Since each book costs $1 if you buy in person, Maddie’s donating one book for every dollar donated electronically to a local school, hospital, or library in need.
Maddie’s always been an Ovi fan, and–like so many of us–she fell for Oshie after he was in Sochi. When Oshie signed in DC her mom says the Capitals “had a fan for life.”
Well, Maddie may be TJ Oshie’s “biggest little fan,” but we’re all becoming big fans of her.
Headline photo: Amanda Kegley
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