ST. LOUIS -- Anderson Whitehead has done plenty of traveling in his 12 years and has been to a few hockey games, but the experience of the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game in a city he'd never seen before made the gift from Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price all the more special.
Price surprised Whitehead with the trip to the All-Star Game on stage at the 2019 NHL Awards in Las Vegas. They met in March after Price found out Whitehead's mother had recently died of cancer. She had been trying to get a meeting between her son and Price, his favorite player.
Anderson had seven months of buildup to the trip to St. Louis, and couldn't wait to see all the sights with his uncles Paul and Mark Hunter, and cousin Charlie, and made sure to take in all the sights in addition to the 2020 NHL All-Star Skills presented by New Amsterdam Vodka and All-Star Game.
"I wanted to see the Mississippi (River)," said Anderson, who also saw the St. Louis Arch, which was bigger than he was expecting, Union Station and Busch Stadium, plus the nearby Chel Challenge, which featured several NHL players and gamers playing the EA Sports NHL 20 video game.
His favorite part of the weekend was meeting Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber, who autographed Anderson's jersey with a message that read, "To Anderson, Best Wishes! Your Friend, Shea Weber."
"We talked about how the Habs are doing," Anderson said.
Anderson told Weber he got a kick out of Weber apologizing to players who may get in the way of his thunderous slap shot.
Price wasn't at All-Star Weekend, but Anderson said he hears from him every so often.
"We talk via text," Anderson said.
To round out of the trip, Anderson got to see Weber win the Enterprise Hardest Shot and meet Montreal mascot Youppi!