By Katie Adler
The wish of 14-year-old Nate Wessel officially came true as the Washington Capitals faced the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
After signing a two-day contract and practicing with the team on Wednesday, the youth hockey player joined the team on the ice at Capital One Arena as one of its honorary starters.
Nate was born with a heart condition and had three open-heart surgeries as a kid. A player for the Howard Huskies and his junior varsity team in high school, Nate’s dream was to be a Washington Capitals player.
The Caps aired a touching video highlighting Nate’s day at MedStar Capitals Iceplex before Capitals PA announcer Wes Johnson gave him a booming introduction to the crowd.
“At this time, ladies and gentlemen, please direct your attention to the Olympia corner as we welcome number eight, Nate ‘The GR8’ Wessel,” Johnson said as the crowd roared.
Nate skated out and gave a fist bump to Ovechkin and then stood beside the future Hockey Hall of Famer during the national anthem.
Nate from @WishMidAtlantic is back tonight and chatting it up with the #Gr8 pregame
Enjoy the game, bud!#ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/UuClCwzAbr
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 9, 2023
The Capitals went all out for Nate, even preparing him with official jumbotron graphics.
Photo: Kurly/RMNB Crasher
Once the puck dropped, Nate and his family made their way upstairs to the broadcast group where they joined Joe Beninati and Craig Laughlin for part of the NBC Sports Washington broadcast.
Nate’s wish with the @Capitals continues with a visit to the @NBCSCapitals @NBCSWashington booth in the press box. Nate and his family joined @JoeBpXp and @Laughlin18 for a portion of the @Capitals game broadcast. pic.twitter.com/yCxjoFbHfr
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) March 10, 2023
Eventually, Nate made it back down to his lower bowl seats where during the telecast he was spotted, happy as can be, signing along to music during a break in play.
“The fact that Nate is playing hockey is amazing,” Nate’s mother Megan told NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti on Wednesday. “The fact that he is getting to meet the Washington Capitals and to meet the great Alexander Ovechkin, this is really a dream come true not just for him but for us as well.”
Win or lose, moments like these are what make hockey special. Congratulations, Nate! And great job, Caps and Ovi!
Headline photo: @Pennybacker/Twitter
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.