The NHL and its partners have done some amazing work through Hockey Fights Cancer. As a recent even at Bridgestone Arena to help raise funds for Pediatric Cancer Research Fund at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital, even the on-ice officials took part.
As players prepared for the upcoming tilt, [Tristan Soto of Clarksville, who has battled cancer,] was introduced to the “third team on the ice,” the NHL’s officiating crew. Soto’s opportunity to meet and greet with the officials was part of Zebras Care, a charity started by the National Hockey League Officials Association, which gives sick children the opportunity to meet NHLOA members and attend an NHL game.
As the nights officiating crew of Gord Dwyer, Dan O’Halloran, Brad Kovachik and Don Henderson introduced themselves to Soto and his friends and family, they offered him handfuls of bubble gum, something they said officials are “always known for having.”
O’Halloran presented Soto with his very own black and white official sweater, complete with a No. 1 on the back and the orange arm bands signifying a referee. “It’s the only ‘No. 1’ in the entire league,” O’Halloran said.
Soto, who said he was most excited about getting to sit in the penalty box during warm-ups after his visit with the officials, showed the crew the signs for “goal” and “slash” that he had learned on the way to take a few photos rinkside. The officials hoisted Soto on top of the net to pose for a few photos and stopped the Zamboni on its way off the ice for a few more.
“It’s great that we get to help give him a couple of hours to forget about his problems,” said Referee Gord Dwyer after meeting Soto. “It’s a good opportunity to see how fortunate we are, and how much we need to appreciate where we are.”
Head on over to the Predators’ site to read the full story and to see a gallery of photos from the event.