Robin Lehner continues to inspire New York Islanders fans, even as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks goalie met and shared a heartfelt moment with diehard Islanders fan Kim Moisa after he defeated his former team at United Center on Friday.
Moisa has been one of Lehner's biggest fans since reading about his battle with substance abuse last fall. She was diagnosed with partial complex seizures last December, a condition she's dealt with since she was a child, and Lehner's courage boosted her spirits in the aftermath of her diagnosis.
"I was so low because I felt defined by my diagnosis," she said. "I read his article again shortly after, and re-reading that article, I never felt a stronger connection to somebody. He totally understood what I felt, and what I felt in there, it's kind of corny, but if he can do it I can do it."
The meeting came together through Moisa's friends Spencer and Kelly Capotosto, who also are friends with Lehner. Lehner has followed Moisa on Twitter since last year, when he noticed a video of her receiving his Islanders jersey in April, and asked the Capotostos if he could meet Moisa. They called her back inside the seating area as she was requesting an Uber on the way out.
"I was jealous," Moisa said. "But apparently [Lehner] texted Spencer and said 'bring Kim too.'"
It was their first in-person meeting, and it was meaningful for both.
"He was super, super awesome to me," Moisa said. "He just gave me the biggest hugs to the point where I was letting him go, but he was not letting me go."
Lehner, who won the Masterton Trophy and helped the Islanders reach the Eastern Conference Second Round last season, will return to Long Island to face New York on April 2. But Moisa, a 20-year-old diehard Islanders fan from Commack, New York, couldn't wait until then and went to the game in Chicago with a sign that said "LI will always love Lehner."
"I was heartbroken seeing him leave the Islanders," Moisa said. "He comes to Long Island is in April, and I was like 'Oh I cannot wait until April.'"
Her only real disappointment was Lehner's play. He made 38 saves and earned the No. 1 star in Chicago's 5-2 win.
"The only good thing that came out of it was Lehner coming out with the win," Moisa said. "He was solid. He played a spectacular game. You can't take anything away from his performance."