VANCOUVER - As the Blackhawks make their third overall selection tonight in the 2019 NHL Draft, a lot of eyes will be on who is putting on the jersey for the very first time.
But it's who will be handing the first-round pick the jersey that proves just as meaningful: Louie Facca, amateur scout Rob Facca's 11-year-old son and Chicago's draft runner for the weekend.
"It'll be crazy," Louie said nervously hours before the draft, adding that he's excited to get on the stage in front of everyone and give the Blackhawks jersey and hat to the No. 3 pick.
At the age of two, Louie was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy - a degenerative disease without a cure that affects the voluntary muscles. It's one that until recently saw very few of those diagnosed make it out of their teens.
"It's unreal. I don't know if it's really hit home for him, but I know how exciting it is and I know a lot of people know it's a pretty big deal to do that," Rob said as the Facca family was preparing to leave for Louie's big night. "[It's a] very big deal for Al MacIsaac and Mark Kelley to ask him and ask us to do that, but it'll be one of those deals where he looks back on and it'll be amazing."
It's a special night for Louie, but it's even more special for Rob because of those around him on the draft floor.
"When he first got diagnosed with Muscular Distrophy, we didn't want to be lazy and sit on our hands. We didn't know much about it, so that just told us that no one knew much about it either," Rob said. "I was coaching college hockey at the time and I'm fortunate enough to have a voice and know enough people to help spread it and a lot of those people will be on the floor tonight working with various other teams or will be in the stands watching.
"I think everyone knows his story and knows our story. I think they'll be a lot of people that see him and want to shake his hand, give him a high five and just see that he's doing well and doing a lot better than what was expected when he was diagnosed at two years old."