Carey Price helped comfort 11-year-old Anderson Whitehead in the wake of the Montreal Canadiens fan's personal tragedy, and all it took was one brief meeting after practice.
The Canadiens goalie made Anderson's dream come true when he stopped to meet and console his young fan, whose mom died of breast cancer in November, with a hug after Montreal's morning skate at Scotiabank Place in Toronto on Saturday.
"Nothing will take the pain away from losing his mom," Anderson's aunt Tammy Whitehead told NHL.com. "But this has lit him up like we've never seen before."
Anderson, from Brantford, Ontario, is a huge Canadiens fan who idolizes Price. Anderson attended Montreal's game against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and his uncle Paul Whitehead, Tammy's husband, arranged the meeting through his physiotherapist, who knows some members of the Canadiens training staff.
Price posed for a picture with Anderson before signing his jersey and giving him two signed sticks and a signed puck. Paul took the video, then shared it Tammy, who posted it on Facebook, where it went viral.
"I looked at it this morning," Price said following the Canadiens' 4-1 win against the New York Rangers on Friday. "Obviously it's a touching moment with a young guy. It was definitely an emotional experience for myself. Obviously he is going through a tough time. I'm a compassionate person. It touched me a lot. Just glad to help out. It's always nice to have intimate moments with somebody."
Anderson's mom, Laura McKay, had promised him she'd do whatever she could to help him meet Price. She beat breast cancer once, but her disease returned and spread in January 2018. She died Nov. 7 at age 44.
Anderson has struggled since his mom's passing, but his aunt saw his interaction with Price lift his spirits.
"Carey Price was an absolute gentleman," Tammy Whitehead said. "Such a precious and special moment for Anderson that he will never forget."