ARLINGTON, Va. – The Washington Capitals and Braden Holtby partnered with the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada to grant the wish of 8-year-old Braden Nienaber to meet the Caps goaltender from Jan. 11-12.
On Saturday, Jan. 11, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native skated with Holtby as well as other Capitals players following the conclusion of practice. He also received a tour of the Capitals locker room from Holtby and was presented with a custom jersey and locker nameplate as well as signed equipment.
On Sunday, Jan. 12, Nienaber was given a private tour of Verizon Center and rode on the Olympia ice resurfacer pregame. He also participated in a ceremonial puck-drop and watched warmups from the Capitals bench. During the first intermission Nienaber played in a mascot hockey game, and he received a tour of the press box and television booths during the second intermission. Following the game, Nienaber met Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin and Holtby in the Capitals locker room.
Nienaber was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis in 2011 and has undergone multiple surgeries and chemotherapy. Langerhans cell histiocytosis is a disease similar to cancer in which white blood cells multiply too quickly, causing bone and organ damage.
Holtby and Nienaber met previously when Holtby played for the Saskatoon Blades of the Western Hockey League.
“As a kid that age to be in a NHL locker room around NHL players, his heroes, it’s something that he will never forget,” said Holtby. “I just wanted to pitch in and make it the best experience for him as possible. It was an honor to help make Braden’s wish come true.”
Visit MonumentalNetwork.com to view a video recap of the weekend and ceremonial puck drop.
Each year, thousands of Canadian children between the ages of three and 17 are diagnosed with a life threatening illness. Since 1984, The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada has worked tirelessly to grant exceptional wishes to over 20,000 children and their families.
This year, the Foundation expects to grant over 1,000 new wishes and is proud to have never refused a wish to an eligible child, and with the help of volunteers and generous donors, is able to grant nearly three wishes every day. Each wish is an individual adventure, carefully structured to meet the needs of a particular child and family. The Foundation is a national charity with chapters in every province and territory. Visit www.childrenswish.ca for more information.
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby chats with 8-year-old Braden Nienaber during warmups at the Capitals game on Jan. 12. Nienaber’s wish, granted through The Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, was to meet Holtby.