Top 10 heartwarming moments of 2016 (Puck Daddy Year in Hockey)


(Puck Daddy presents its annual look back at the year in hockey. Check back every day through the New Year for our many lists and hot takes.)

Every year, the hockey world gives us many acts that remind us of the good in life and that watching hockey isn’t just about wins and losses, but so much more.

We took a look back to some of the most heartwarming, tearjerking moments that the hockey community provided us in 2016.

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10. Marian Hossa’s daughter at his 500th goal ceremony

At a ceremony honoring his 500th NHL goal, Marian Hossa received much of the typical pomp and circumstance with rink length graphics and a silver stick engraved with the achievement.

But during the event an adorable viral moment occurred. Hossa’s daughter Zoja grabbed her dad’s nose and pinched it to give us one of the cuter moments of 2016.

9. Capitals surprise child who lost military father

Seth Parrish thought he was going to a Washington Capitals practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex. Instead, he found himself meeting T.J. Oshie who gave him a No. 12 Captials jersey with ‘Parrish’ on the back. The youngster then skated with the team.

Seth’s father, Command Sgt. Maj. Harry L. Parrish Jr. of Fort Meade, Maryland, a longtime skydiving instructor and veteran Army soldier died as he was about to accompany a student in a free fall just 32 days before Seth was born.

At Caps practice, Seth got to shoot on goaltender Braden Holtby, received a stick from forward Tom Wilson and also conducted interviews like a pro in the Washington locker room.

Seth out on the ice with the big boys❤???? @capitals

A video posted by Alyssa ???? (@loveburkie) on Dec 20, 2016 at 9:23am PST

8. Jo Pawvelski finds a home with Patrick Marleau

Before Game 1 of the San Jose Sharks’ 2016 second-round playoff series against the Nashville Predators, a black cat streaked across the ice. The video quickly went viral, and led to immediate questions on the cats’ whereabouts.

After the game, she was found underneath the stands by SAP Center’s engineering staff and turned over to the Sharks, who called her ‘Jo Pawvelski.’ They then started the process of trying to find a home for her and eventually gave her to the Humane Society Silicon Valley.

There she was checked for a microchip to determine if she had an owner. They also tried to make sure she was healthy in order to prepare her for adoption.

On May 15, the Sharks announced Jo had found a home, but never said who adopted the cat. In late June Christina Marleau, the wife of longtime Shark Patrick Marleau, tweeted that her family had adopted the cat.

7. Young hockey fan helps out younger hockey fan with cancer

In late February, a 7-year-old leukemia patient named Alyx Delaloye was shown on the Winnipeg Jets jumbotron with a sign that said “Chemo by day … Jets by night!”

CTV wrote about Delaloye’s condition, and why she attended that particular game:

Delaloye was diagnosed with leukemia in July. And since then, her family has been driving her from her home in Neepawa, Man., to Winnipeg for weekly rounds of chemotherapy.

On Tuesday, Delaloye and her family won tickets to the Jets game against the Dallas Stars.

The seven-year-old’s immune system has been weakened during her bout with cancer, and she hadn’t been allowed in public for two months. Luckily, her doctors gave her the OK to attend the game.

As stories about Delaloye circulated, Keaton Hamin, a 9-year-old Jets fan who had a signed stick by defenseman Tyler Myers, decided he wanted to give it to her.

”I just felt bad for her that she had cancer,” Keaton said to CTV News. “And I asked my dad, ‘Dad, can I go give the stick to Alyx?’”

In November, Delaloyle received the news that she’s cancer free.

6. The hockey story of Wyatt Nelson and his father, Gerry

During the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs, a video featuring 12-year-old Wyatt Nelson and his father, Gerry, went viral as part of the “Discover Card Day with the Cup” campaign. It showed how hockey was a bond between the two with Wyatt acting as play-by-play man for Gerry, who lost his eyesight 28 years ago due to diabetes.

The video ended with the two getting a chance meeting with the Stanley Cup after a Saskatoon Blades game.

Former Blues player and current KMOX radio analyst Kelly Chase saw the video and he and general manager Doug Armstrong called the Nelsons to invite them to Game 2 of the Western Conference Final.

The two went to morning skate, met Blues assistant GM and goaltending legend Martin Brodeur and then got to call part of the game with St. Louis play-by-play man Chris Kerber.

5. Connor McDavid gives terminally ill Oilers fan best day ever

Rheanna Trepanier, a 10-year-old from Edmonton with brain cancer, was diagnosed with the disease early in November after she fell sick on Halloween. She then needed three surgeries in a 12-day span following the discovery of four brain tumors. That was when doctors broke the news that she had only months to live.

Trepanier then created a bucket list, in hopes of knocking off many by Christmas. One of the items was meeting Connor McDavid, the captain of the Edmonton Oilers.

“He’s cute, he’s good at hockey and he’s the captain,” she said of McDavid according to the Edmonton Sun.

In late November, McDavid made a visit just before her chemotherapy and radiation treatments began presenting her with signed jersey.

Rheanna’s aunt, Chelsea McDonald told Global News that it was her niece’s “best day ever.”

4. A teenager who met the Tampa Bay Lightning on a Make-A-Wish trip got to meet them again – this time cancer free

Last November, Raleigh area teen Jake Warner had a Make-A-Wish moment with his favorite team, the Tampa Bay Lightning. This was just eight days before he was set to have his left leg amputated under his knee because of a rare bone cancer. Warner and his family had taken vacations to Clearwater, Fla. in the past and he had gone to Tampa games, which was how he became a Lightning fan.

After this visit with Tampa, Warner set a goal to walk into PNC Arena and meet them again for Tampa’s scheduled trip to Carolina in February of 2016.

Wrote the Tampa Bay Times:

Jake grew up playing lacrosse and hockey — he was a left wing and a center — before his diagnosis last year. During a family vacation, Jake got hooked up with the Lightning for the November meet-and-greet — which he dubbed a “dream come true” — after the family reached out to former Hurricanes and current Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, who relayed the message to Lightning GM Steve Yzerman.

In February, with the help of a prosthetic and cane, a cancer free Warner walked into the arena to watch his first NHL game since his meeting with the Lightning in November.

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3. Arizona Coyotes provide lasting memories for a special needs hockey team

In late December, the Arizona Coyotes invited the One Step Bobcats, a local special needs hockey team, to Gila River Arena. On the trip, the Coyotes surprised the Bobcats with custom jerseys and the team then had a chance to jump on the ice and skate around in their hockey gear.

2. Craig Anderson shuts out Edmonton Oilers days after it was announced his wife Nicholle was diagnosed with cancer

On Oct. 29, Ottawa Senators general manager Pierre Dorion revealed the reason why goaltender Craig Anderson had taken a recent leave of absence. An emotional Dorion said Craig’s wife Nicholle was fighting cancer, but due to some injuries with the team in goal she had pushed for Craig to temporarily return to the Senators.

Two days later, Anderson turned aside 37 shots on goal to help his team to a 2-0 win at the Edmonton Oilers. After the final buzzer, Senators players mobbed an emotional Anderson.

Edmonton goaltender Cam Talbot, who picked up the loss, stuck around to cheer on Anderson.

Later in November, the Andersons announced Nicholle had been diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma and would undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment in New York.

According to the National Cancer Institute, nasopharyngeal carcinoma is “a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the nasopharynx,” which is the upper part of the throat.

Since the announcement of Nicholle’s diagnosis, the Senators have given Craig as much time as necessary to be with her while supporting Nicholle with charitable endeavors. Ottawa’s fans have also rallied behind her.

Recently, the couple announced some good news in her fight.

“I am really excited to share this news today. My tumor has responded positively in the right direction,” Nicholle wrote in her blog.

1. High schooler scores OT winner hours after father’s death

After losing his father Lou to a battle with colon cancer earlier in the day, Notre Dame-West Haven (CT) senior Doug Caliendo scored the overtime winner to help his team beat Northwest Catholic 3-2.

Down 2-0 in the third period, West Haven tied the game to force overtime where Caliendo, a defenseman, fired in the game-winning goal 25 seconds into the extra session. After the goal, he pointed to the sky before his teammates mobbed him.

“Knowing my father for so long, he really loved the sport and always wanted me to play,” Caliendo said via “He would have said, ‘Just get out there and do what I do best.’”

Weeks later, the New York Rangers honored the Caliendos.

Puck Daddy Year In Hockey 2016

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Josh Cooper is an editor for Puck Daddy on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!