Manny Malhotra is on a professional tryout contract with the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, after missing most of the 2013 NHL season due to that eye injury he suffered in 2011 when a puck hit him.
He’s working hard, trying to find a place to continue his career in the NHL.
In the meantime, Malhotra’s been busy finding something else. Using a metal detector.
The Checkers had a team-building outing earlier this month at a paintball facility, firing goo-filled projectiles at each other as they ran around the course like faux soldiers.
Center Brendan Woods, an AHL rookie who played for the Wisconsin Badgers last season, was horrified to discover that he lost something during the battle – a religious medal that had been gifted to him from his late grandfather.
A medal that had been blessed by the Pope. So yeah, pretty well irreplaceable.
Upon hearing about Woods’ loss, Malhotra decided to take action. As Paul Branecky writes on the Checkers’ website:
Without telling Woods, Malhotra, who had known the rookie forward for a little over two weeks, bought a metal detector, drove to the paintball field and searched.
When unable to find the medal, Malhotra told Woods about it, and the two returned to the field to look again on Wednesday. Together, they found it.
This is actually the second time Malhotra has looked out for Woods since arriving in Charlotte.
On Oct. 20, Raphael Bussieres of the Iowa Wild hit Woods from behind last in the third period, banging the rookie’s head off the glass and sending him down to the ice. Malhotra stepped in and fought Bussieres for the injurious hit.
It was his first fight since March 2010, and the first since his eye injury.
“It was awesome,” Woods told the Checkers’ website at the time. “It shows that he’s on your side and willing to do whatever it takes for a teammate.”
Even taking a metal detector to a paintball battlefield.
Considering what they found, and Malhotra’s protective actions on the ice, let’s jut go ahead and assume he’s actually Woods’ guardian angel.