Will Cohen, a junior at Landon High School, went with a friend to see the Washington Football Team play the Seattle Seahawks on Monday. The former Capitals season ticket holder wore a Ryan Kerrigan jersey to the game that his mother bought for him at Dick’s Sporting Goods sometime around 2010.
Sitting in his friend’s club level seats, Will looked around FedEx Field in anticipation of a big Monday Night Football game. The WFT team had won two games in a row, beating Tom Brady and Cam Newton in consecutive weeks. A victory against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks would propel Washington into a playoff spot despite a losing record.
Then Capitals forward TJ Oshie walked up and sat behind Will in the row directly behind him.
“I looked back four times five times in total disbelief,” Will said in an interview recalling that night.
It was one of those moments that made Will think a lot internally. Should I say hi? Should I leave TJ alone despite it being a once-in-a-lifetime moment? Will is an athlete too– he plays lacrosse at a very high level –and did not want to violate TJ’s privacy out of respect.
“To be honest, I didn’t think it was him at first,” Will said. “I turned to my friend and googled TJ just to make sure we weren’t imagining things. I’ve been a Capitals fan my entire life.”
About five to 10 minutes into the first quarter, Oshie realized that the two friends knew who he was but were too shy to say anything. So the world-famous athlete that has 395k followers on Twitter decided to break the ice with them.
“I see you guys googling,” Oshie said. “Yup, it’s me.”
Will was rattled by how down-to-earth Oshie was. He asked to take a selfie. The Capitals forward obliged.
Will thanked Oshie for helping the Capitals win the Stanley Cup in 2018 and told the athlete how he’s grown up watching him play.
Oshie, who is currently out of the lineup due to an upper-body injury, is notoriously good with fans. He was at the game because he grew up in Washington state and his fanhood for the Seahawks has translated into his adult life big time. Oshie was even invited by the franchise to raise the 12 Flag during a 2018 preseason game. Oshie called the moment at Lumen Field “a dream come true.”
Wearing a white Warroad hoodie and black jeans, Oshie was not necessarily dressed the part of a football fan. That might explain why he became enamored with Will’s Ryan Kerrigan jersey, posting on Instagram, “How do I get this jersey?”
Not only is Kerrigan an all-time Washington Football Team great, but the defensive end was a huge supporter of the Capitals during his time in DC. Capitals players wore his jersey to games. During the 2019 playoffs, Kerrigan even did Oshie’s Stanley Cup champion beer chug to get the Capital One Arena crowd fired up.
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) April 21, 2019
Will was oblivious that Oshie was Instagramming about him or his jersey during the game.
“As my friends and I were about to leave, a friend of mine sent me Oshie’s story, which was a picture of me,” Will said. “I was stunned. We immediately went back to see if he was interested in trading. He’s TJ Oshie.”
Oshie initially offered to buy Will a jacket. Will was curious if Oshie would give him one of his jerseys and one of his used sticks. Oshie agreed. So the two exchanged numbers and took a photo together showing the exchange.
Will said that his social media channels have been blowing up with notifications since the interaction happened. “Everyone has been asking about it at school this whole week,” he said. “It was so cool.”
On Tuesday, Oshie texted Will saying he would hook him up with hockey gear.
“I’ll have this (Kerrigan jersey) for a long time,” he said to Will.
While the other part of the exchange has happened yet, Will has no doubt it will because Oshie is such a great guy.
“I was worried at first that I made TJ mad by googling him at the beginning,” Will said. “But after this transpired, my faith in humanity was restored.”
Replica WFT jerseys of Kerrigan, similar to Will’s, go for about $20 on eBay.
Photo: @tjoshie7/IG Story
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