On Sunday, a cute little girl sitting in the money seats at the Caps playoff game banged on the glass as Brett Connolly skated by. He noticed her and tried to flip her a puck over the glass, but a dad-person behind her caught it and handed it to the young fan beside her. She was sad. The same thing happened with the second puck Connolly sent over. The third attempt was successful, and she was thrilled. It was the feel-good story in what was an otherwise feel-bad night for the Washington Capitals who squandered another two-goal lead and lost in overtime, so obviously Caps PR latched on.
Hockey, and all first-brain thinkers, could not get enough of this adorable little fan.
The second-brain take, is wow, that hockey dad sure was savvy in getting all of his kids pucks! He probably knew that Connolly was trying to give a puck to his daughter, so he snagged the first two pucks and gave them to his sons to ensure equality.
Could be, but on closer examination, I think not. For one, there are two other Dad-age men (Dad B and Dad C) sitting next to Dad A, so it wouldn’t make sense that Dad A got to bring three kids and the other two didn’t bring any. Secondly, these kids don’t interact like siblings. If Boy 1 or 2 were the girl’s older brothers, she would certainly be more whiny and pouty about getting passed over twice for the pucks, instead of just standing there glumly. Similarly, if they were brothers and sister, Boy 1 would’ve immediately conferred with the girl and Boy 2 after getting the puck, either to gloat or, if he was a nice big brother, to share. Instead, they all sort of keep to themselves, like their dads are friends and/or work acquaintances, and they’re just along for the ride. We’ve now arrived at the crucial part of my theory.
The man distributing the pucks (Dad A) tried to get Connolly to give the first puck to the boy on the left (Boy 1). You can see him pointing directly at Boy 1 as Connolly prepares to toss the puck. So, either that’s his son, but for the reasons I’ve stated above I don’t think that’s the case, or he has another reason to want Boy 1 to get the puck. Those seats are very expensive. They’re the kind of seats that law firms and banks and lobbyists get to use or hand out as favors. I think Dad C, slightly older-looking than Dad A and Dad B, got the tickets because he’s a partner or boss at some firm, and brought Dad A and Dad B, who work for him, to the game, along with their kids. For this reason, Dad A, wanting to get in good with Dad C, tried to get Connolly to give the puck to Boy 1, who I posit is the son of Dad C.
Then, once Dad A sees Connolly is still trying to give a puck to the girl, he either 1) Thinks fast and realizes that if Boy 1 and Girl get pucks, Boy 2 will be sad, and quickly calculates that Connolly will likely come back again to give the girl a puck if Boy 2 gets the second puck, or 2) Boy 2 is his kid and he’s looking out for his own. I think No. 1 is more likely.
This particular part of the theory is supported by what happens after Boy 2 has his puck. Dad A, crosses his arms, satisfied?, and then points to the girl, sheepishly?, without looking at Connolly. An incredulous Connolly stares at him.
Why, you might be asking, don’t I think the girl belongs to Dad A? Well, when she finally gets the puck from a frustrated Connolly, she turns around and brandishes proudly at Dad B, not Dad A. I also don’t believe a Dad would have it in him to pass over his own daughter twice in a minute’s time. This is just a theory of course, so if you know the actual story, let me know.
Update (6:05 p.m. ET): Two friendly hockey dads got in touch with more details, the best of which is that the adorable little girl plays in her local mites hockey league.
From a member of the girl’s family:
This was a fun and interesting theory, but, unfortunately, very wrong. None of these men are her father and she is an only child. Her father is about 7 rows back having refreshments, allowing other children to have space to see the Caps up close for warmups. We are also not rich investment bankers. The Caps allow people to come down to the glass, especially kids, to watch and that is what we did. We were actually seated up higher in the stadium. Her mom is standing behind her in the next row so she wasn’t alone, and that is who she excitedly brandished the shiny new puck to. Also, little girl is a hockey player in her local mites league!
From Boy 2's father:
Hi Laura - I am the father of “Boy 2". I just wanted to provide a little more info on this story and in Caps games in general. A lot of parents who bring their kids to Caps game (and probably a lot of other NHL teams/arenas are like this too) arrive early and are allowed to go down to the glass to watch their favorite team go through pre-game warmups...primarily so they can watch these athletes up close and to also get the chance of scoring a puck from one of the players. My wife and I got to about 5-6 rows from the glass last night (we couldn’t get any closer b/c it was packed!), so we told our 2 kids to go down to the glass. Boy 2 (my 6-year old son) was with his 7-year old sister (she is standing next to him on the other side with the knitted hat on). Anyhow, 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! After he got our attention, my wife snuck down a few more rows and snapped a picture of him about 30 seconds after he got it (attached).
As for the “expensive” seats, I’d estimate that maybe 10% of the adults and kids you see in this video and down by the glass area in general watching pre-game warmups don’t actually sit anywhere near the glass...and that 10% is probably generous. Once the pre-game warmups are over, its a mass exodus from this area! We sat in section 406 ourselves, probably 8 rows from the very top of the stadium. I even mentioned to my wife while we were standing there during pre-game that if I were a season ticket holder and had seats in this area, I’d probably be annoyed every single game b/c there’s no way you can actually get to your seats during this time.
Thanks for your time,
This dad also sent along an adorable photo of his son clutching the puck and grinning from ear to ear.